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The Fragility Dilemma and Divergent Security Complexes in the Sahel


Despite an exponential increase in international resources devoted to the Sahel, the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. This is largely due to the so-called “fragility dilemma”, faced by fragile states that are in critical need of external assistance, but have limited absorption capacity and are governed by sitting regimes that dictate the terms and upon which external actors must rely. This dilemma has contributed to an increasing divergence between a state-centric regional and a people-centric transnational security complex. In particular, a heavy-handed approach to violent extremism and external policies aimed at curbing irregular migration have had a number of unintended consequences, disrupting livelihoods and further exacerbating instability in the Sahelian states.
Keywords: Sahel, human security, fragility dilemma, regional security, irregular migration, violent extremism