TagNigeria

On Sporadic Radicalism

Last week I participated in the third Marrakech Security Forum which this year focused on “Issues and security consequences of transition in North Africa”. It also included several panels on the consequences for the Sahel region, as well as the problem of drugs trafficking in West Africa. In this well-ordered event organized by Federation Africaine Des etudes Strategiques/Centre Marocain des Etudes Strategiques  there were participants from some 50 countries, about 120 men but only 10 women, clearly indicating the male biased interest in the security business. Participants came chiefly from the MENA region but to quite some extent also from francophone Africa south of the Sahara. It was a crowd of senior diplomats, high rank militaries and professors. It appeared that everyone was a director of one institute or another other. There were naturally also a number of Europeans and Americans. Many of the more than hundred, too brief, presentations were quite general statements on the political situation in North Africa and in the Sahel region. Interestingly U.S. officials and academics choose to humbly downplay the U.S. role in Africa in the years to come, except for in a few strategic countries. French officials raised concern over the situation in Algeria and also talked about the situation in the Sahel as “war” and showed concern for the increasing interconnectedness of militant Islamist groups in the region and all the way down to Nigeria. Participants from Africa South of the Sahara gave quite divergent views on the possibilities of an “African spring”, but the Sahelialists were equally afraid of developments around AQIM, Boko Haram and other radical groups. Continue reading

On Sporadic Radicalism

Last week I participated in the third Marrakech Security Forum which this year focused on “Issues and security consequences of transition in North Africa”. It also included several panels on the consequences for the Sahel region, as well as the problem of drugs trafficking in West Africa. In this well-ordered event organized by Federation Africaine Des etudes Strategiques/Centre Marocain des Etudes Strategiques  there were participants from some 50 countries, about 120 men but only 10 women, clearly indicating the male biased interest in the security business. Participants came chiefly from the MENA region but to quite some extent also from francophone Africa south of the Sahara. It was a crowd of senior diplomats, high rank militaries and professors. It appeared that everyone was a director of one institute or another other. There were naturally also a number of Europeans and Americans. Many of the more than hundred, too brief, presentations were quite general statements on the political situation in North Africa and in the Sahel region. Interestingly U.S. officials and academics choose to humbly downplay the U.S. role in Africa in the years to come, except for in a few strategic countries. French officials raised concern over the situation in Algeria and also talked about the situation in the Sahel as “war” and showed concern for the increasing interconnectedness of militant Islamist groups in the region and all the way down to Nigeria. Participants from Africa South of the Sahara gave quite divergent views on the possibilities of an “African spring”, but the Sahelialists were equally afraid of developments around AQIM, Boko Haram and other radical groups. Continue reading

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