security tag

CFP: Conflict, (Counter-) Terrorism and Intervention in the Sahara-Sahel

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

The dramatic yet still evolving transformations in Mediterranean North Africa, most importantly in Libya, have been extensively analyzed in the context of Middle East security. Yet the ramifications of the ‘Arab Spring’ on issues of conflict and intervention in the Sahara-Sahel region have yet to be fully explored. Along with the Horn of Africa, the great expanse between Mauritania and Sudan has arguably been one of the most conflict-ridden areas in Africa. It is also home to some of the world’s largest reserves of oil and natural gas; the Sahara literally helps power world economic growth and production. For decades, this zone has been caught in a web of intra- and inter-state conflicts further complicated by external interventions performed by Western powers. The Sahara-Sahel is home to various insurgent movements, including the long-living Polisario Front in Western Sahara, the trans-national Tuareg insurgencies, the highly unstable rebel factions in western Sudan’s Darfur region, and now the Boko Haram movement in northern Nigeria. The internal dynamics of these and other conflicts in the region have been exacerbated by a plethora of old and new rivalries between regional and extra-regional actors, which often results in the widespread phenomenon of proxy warfare. A major battlefield for the US-led global war on terrorism, the rise of a regional branch of Al-Qaida has tracked alongside the dramatic proliferation of informal trade networks based on the smuggling of goods and humans. The proposed panel aims to analyze the interaction of these internal and external factors, particularly their impacts on contemporary politico-military conflicts in the Sahara-Sahel. It will address a broad spectrum of related issues, from the determinants of regional cooperation, conflict and foreign intervention to the important consequences of social, economic and political turbulence, including conflict-driven migration, terrorism and trafficking.

Read the rest