The Sahel: Europe’s Forever War

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Publication Date March 2021
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Violence in the Sahel region of Africa has been continual for nine years. Despite the long-term involvement of the EU and France, the conflict has continued to escalate, spreading from Mali to Niger and Burkina Faso, costing thousands of civilian lives every year. The region is of strategic interest to Europe: a large number of migrants to the EU come from the Sahel or transit through it. It also hosts a sizeable presence of armed Islamist groups affiliated with al-Qaida and Islamic State (IS). But the Sahel also matters for Europe’s credibility as a crisis manager. Having invested money and political capital in the region, the EU must now prove that it is capable of solving complex problems in its own backyard.

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