France’s Forever & Unwinnable War: Rethinking Response to Jihadist Groups Across the Sahel,

Rather than the ideology of global jihad, the driving force behind the emergence and resilience of non-state armed groups in the Sahel is a combination of weak states, corruption and the brutal repression of dissent, embodied in dysfunctional military forces. These are structural problems that long predate the ‘war on terror’, and they serve to underline that bad governance and the weakness of state security structures, including police and justice, lie at the root of violence in the region. […]

There are signs that some in the international community are beginning to recognize these imperatives. In a report published in 2015, for instance, members of the French parliament highlighted the contradiction of spending €1 billion a year on Operation Barkhane while cutting development budgets without tackling the root causes of the crisis. Some senators went even further in recognizing that ‘justice and the fight against impunity’ were probably ‘the first demand of the people, before education or economic prosperity’. Niger might not offer a model that can be replicated in its entirety in Mali, or elsewhere in the Sahel, but it demonstrates that there are possibilities for improvement. Not least through a high voter turnout, the most recent presidential election, which took place over two rounds in December 2020 and February 2021, has so far confirmed the democratic foundations of the country. Though by no means perfect, the experience of Niger shows that it is possible for states in the Sahel to overcome the legacy of a violent and divided past.  Läs artikel