IS threats to the Saharo-Sahelian region at a crossroads

IS threats to the Saharo-Sahelian region at a crossroads

The increase in attacks by terrorist groups in the Sahel and the Sahara, coupled with cross-border challenges such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, migration and population displacement, highlights the rapid acceleration of episodes of violence linked to Islamist groups.

Despite efforts to fight armed groups linked to ISIL (ISIS) (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), al-Qaeda and others, it is not possible to stop their expansion in the Sahel region and the Sahara. Terrorist activities linked to these groups, particularly ISIS, have intensified in recent times, thus increasing instability in the coastal countries of West Africa and even increasingly affecting North Africa. UN Under-Secretary-General for Africa Martha Pobee told a Security Council meeting recently that‘”there will be no solution, without sustained international support and regional cooperation “.

This has created multiple security challenges for the North Africa region, which deals with this phenomenon unilaterally in light of frequent inter-political conflicts or on a case-by-case basis. The terrorist attacks witnessed in Mali have pushed hundreds of refugees towards the Algerian border. This is due to Mali’s security vacuum and lack of political stability. The Islamic State exploits this situation to extend its activities in the famous border triangle with Niger and Burkina Faso on one side and up to the southern borders of Algeria.

Prior to 2012, only one militant Islamist group, AQIM, operated in Mali. Since then there are about ten groups to be active with complete impunity in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger and generally under the dome of ISIS (cooperation or allegiance).

In this regard, Driss Lagrini, professor of international relations at the Faculty of Law of Cadi Ayyad University (UCA) in Marrakech, has de facto made the link between the management of migration issues and the purely security angle that Europeans address when the issue arises.

The phenomenon is likely to increase, as many factors push young people to migrate to the northern shore of the Mediterranean “, he confided to MoroccoLatestNews, stressing that “ European approaches are different on the issue, and the security aspect is privileged over the humanitarian, cultural or social aspects“.

In this sense, the academic indicated that ” countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean deal with migration issues unilaterally and nationally“, recalling in this connection the example ” of the efforts of Morocco, which has accumulated promising experience due to its adoption of a well-defined national strategy“.

He further emphasized the adoption of a set of legal reforms that led to the settlement of the status of a number of immigrants. “The Libyan situation has had a great impact on the growth of illegal immigration, and the same goes for Tunisia, which treats the phenomenon in a confused way, as well as Algeria, which is limited to a purely security approach. , which obliges European countries to impose their vision in the face of the fragmentation of the Maghreb region”he said.

To conclude : The Sahel region also lives with economic, political, social and security dilemmas, which have made it a fertile space for the concentration of many human and arms trafficking networks, which has contributed to deepening the fragility security, especially after the failure of European approaches in the region, which pushed France to withdraw from Mali and with the withdrawal of MINUSMA it will go from bad to worse”.


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