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Journalists look at arms and ammunition which military commanders say they seized from Islamic fighters, Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 5, 2013 (AP photo by Jon Gambrell)

Overcoming the Barriers to Regional Security Cooperation in West Africa and the Sahel

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Crises and upheaval in the Sahel and West Africa have altered the regional security terrain. Challenges that were once disparate and manageable are increasingly becoming intertwined and more pronounced. With the growing mobility of conflicts, the need for a more cooperative regional context has never been as pressing. Each country in the region has a stake in improving stability, and collectively they have the capacity to tackle the threats to peace and security—but first, they each must overcome a host of domestic obstacles.

The influence of four countries in particular—Morocco, Algeria, Chad and Nigeria—is a central fact of geopolitics in West Africa and the Sahel. For good or ill, their domestic structures, power capabilities, threat perceptions and strategic outlooks illustrate the potentials and pitfalls of their roles in boosting regional security and cooperation. When they fall into hard times—political stasis, economic turmoil or internal violence—their neighbors bear the brunt of their difficulties. ...

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