The African Peace and Security Architecture and the Sahel Conflict

Sidorov A.S.


The article deals with the emerging African security system in the context of struggle against terrorism on the continent. In the focus are the modalities for the establishment and interaction of such structures as the African Union, regional economic communities, coordinating mechanisms and ad hoc arrangements. Highlighted are the evolution of and difficulties in the functioning of these organizations, the perceived need for joining efforts in order to prevent the spread of terrorism to neighboring countries and regions. The author draws detailed comparisons of approaches, features and capabilities of participants in the regional process of maintaining peace and security, aimed at achieving the stated goals in countering extremism and jihadist armed groups. Based on quantitative estimates of the financial costs of interventions, the text exposes inconsistency of efforts made by the African partners in improving the security environment in the Sahel and adjacent countries. With the growing destabilization of the situation in Mali and the region as a whole, the UN structures and local armed forces are not sufficiently effective in countering armed terrorist groups amid constantly increasing costs for operations of Western partners from the USA, France and the EU. Underlined is the role of large regional players – notably, Algeria – in enhancing sustainability of the African security system in the Sahel region as well as the difficulties of involving this state in the collective security system. Amidst the growing skepticism about the concept of the UN and the African Union’s peacekeeping missions, there has been an increase in the number of subregional (the Accra initiative, the Nouakchott process, et al.) and bilateral initiatives to stabilize the situation and counter the threat of jihadism. By way of conclusion, underlined are the critical importance of France in combatting terrorism in the Sahel and the growing lack of resources for increasing military pressure on the terroristic groups there.


Security; Sahel; conflict; Mali; France; jihadists; African Standby Force.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2020.03.11

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