The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020

Special issue: Governance, Fragility and Insurgency in the Sahel: A Hybrid Political Order in the Making
Open access: Governance, Fragility and Insurgency in the Sahel: A Hybrid Political Order in the Making Leggi
Open access: The Fragility Dilemma and Divergent Security Complexes in the Sahel Leggi
Open access: The Dangers of Disconnection: Oscillations in Political Violence on Lake Chad Leggi
Free: Gold Mining in the Sahara-Sahel: The Political Geography of State-making and Unmaking Read
Open access: Explaining Violence in Tillabéri: Insurgent Appropriation of Local Grievances? Leggi

Numero: 
55/4
Data pubblicazione: 
15/11/2020

Governance, Fragility and Insurgency in the Sahel: A Hybrid Political Order in the Making
Guest Editors: Morten Bøås and Francesco Strazzari

Governance, Fragility and Insurgency in the Sahel: A Hybrid Political Order in the Making
Morten Bøås and Francesco Strazzari
Once a region that rarely featured in debates about global security, the Sahel has become increasingly topical as it confronts the international community with intertwined challenges related to climate variability, poverty, food insecurity, population displacement, transnational crime, contested statehood and jihadist insurgencies. This Special Issue discerns the contours of political orders in the making. After situating the Sahel region in time and space, we focus on the trajectory of regional security dynamics over the past decade, which are marked by two military coups in Mali (2012 and 2020). In addressing state fragility and societal resilience in the context of increasing external intervention and growing international rivalry, we seek to consider broader and deeper transformations that can be neither ignored nor patched up through the framework of the ‘war on terror’ projected onto ‘ungoverned spaces’. Focusing especially on the mobilisation of material and immaterial resources, we apply political economy lenses in combination with a historical sociological approach to shed light on how extra-legal governance plays a crucial role in the deformation, transformation and reformation of political orders.
Keywords: Sahel, state fragility, hybrid political orders, jihadist insurgencies, extra-legal governance
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The Fragility Dilemma and Divergent Security Complexes in the Sahel
Kari M. Osland and Henriette U. Erstad
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
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Assessing Misaligned Counterinsurgency Practice in Niger and Nigeria
Laura Berlingozzi and Edward Stoddard
While representing a major military threat in Niger and Nigeria, the two branches of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP-Liptako Gourma and ISWAP-Lake Chad) have increasingly sought to win popular support (distinguishing themselves from other groups in the region, especially Boko Haram). Yet, despite some improvements in the recent past, both Niger’s and Nigeria’s different counterinsurgency practices have not been sufficiently adapted to (and therefore remain strategically misaligned vis-à-vis) ISWAP’s more population-centric approach. Strategic rethinking and realignment of the still predominantly enemy-centric approaches of both states are essential so that ISWAP strategy can be countered in the long term.
Keywords: insurgency, counterinsurgency, ISWAP, Nigeria, Niger
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The Great Illusion: Security Sector Reform in the Sahel
Bernardo Venturi and Nana Toure
Security sector reform (SSR) is regularly cited by states and regional organisations as crucial for stability in the Sahel. However, these declarations and interventions are not based on deep analysis, and much of the literature focuses overwhelmingly on the role of external actors or technical aspects of SSR. Against this backdrop, three preliminary factors need to be addressed in order to reform the security sectors in Burkina Faso and Mali: abuses and violations by regular armies; state support to non-state armed groups; and the securitisation of the region by external actors. In this context, SSR remains hamstrung and illusory: it is not inclusive, which threatens to undermine its outcome.
Keywords: Mali, Burkina Faso, Sahel, SSR, securitisation
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The End of the Sahelian Exception: Al-Qaeda and Islamic State Clash in Central Mali
Edoardo Baldaro and Yida Seydou Diall
Until the beginning of 2020, the Sahel was something of an exception with respect to international rivalry between jihadists. This came to an end when violent clashes involving supporters of Al-Qaeda and those affiliated with the Islamic State were recorded in central Mali. The violent escalation that has taken place between Katiba Macina and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in the inner Niger Delta should be framed as a battle between a dominant power whose position has begun to be contested, and a rising challenger trying to exploit the situation. More specifically, the rise of Islamic State appears directly connected to the material and symbolic crisis of the system of governance established by Katiba Macina in the area under its control. As the result of a process that cuts across various developments in the recent history of Mali, the conflict between the two jihadist movements threatens to unlock a new and more violent phase in Mali’s longstanding crisis.
Keywords: Mali, jihadi governance, jihadist insurgency, rebel fragmentation, Big Man networks
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The Dangers of Disconnection: Oscillations in Political Violence on Lake Chad
Alessio Iocchi
Narrations on fragility and resilience in the Sahel paint a picture about the region’s inherent ungovernability that lead to consider an endless state- and peace-building process as the most feasible governance solution. Everyday practices of violent entrepreneurship, coalescing with inter-community and land-tenure conflicts, now inform social relations and are transforming moral economies around Lake Chad. While competition over territory suitable for farming, grazing and fishing has intensified, dispute-settlement practices organised by community-level authorities have proven ineffective and lacking the necessary means to respond to the encroachment of a wide range of interests claimed by increasingly powerful actors. Meanwhile, communities organised in self-defence militias are undergoing a process of progressive militarisation that tends to normalise violence and legitimise extra-judicial vigilante justice, further empowering capital-endowed arms suppliers gravitating in the jihadi galaxy, such as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Keywords: Lake Chad, conflicts, natural resources, governance, Islamic State
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Gold Mining in the Sahara-Sahel: The Political Geography of State-making and Unmaking
Luca Raineri
In the Sahara-Sahel, artisanal gold mining is booming. Fragile Sahelian states arguably provide a most likely case for the ‘resource conflict’ theory to hold, yet ‘resource capture’ can also underpin informal governance schemes through which the co-optation of non-state actors ushers in (hybrid) state-building. While the diversity of empirical cases lends credibility to both theories, the dialectic of proximity and distance – both social and spatial – helps make sense of the different modalities of artisanal gold mining governance in the region. In the Sahelian core of regional states, artisanal gold mining has supported regime empowerment; in the Sahara, it has helped assuage pre-existing tensions; in the Tibesti, it has led to militarisation and conflict.
Keywords: gold mining, governance, resources, state-building, violent entrepreneurs
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Explaining Violence in Tillabéri: Insurgent Appropriation of Local Grievances?
Morten Bøås, Abdoul Wahab Cissé and Laouali Mahamane
The Tillabéri region in Niger has quickly lapsed into a state of violence and come under the control of ‘violent entrepreneurs’ – that is, non-state armed actors possessing some kind of political agenda, which is implemented in tandem with different types of income-generating activities. Violent entrepreneurs rule by force and violence, but they also distribute resources, provide some level of order and offer protection to (at least parts of) the population in the areas they control, or attempt to control. In many local communities in peripheral areas of the Sahel, these violent entrepreneurs have a stronger presence than international community actors and their national allies. This situation is partly the result of spill-over effects from the war in Mali and local herder-farmer conflicts, but the key factors are the ability of jihadi insurgents to appropriate local grievances and the failure of the state to resist this.
Keywords: insurgencies, violence, governance, enabling environment, state failure
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Postface: Emerging Orders in the Sahel?
Georg Klute
While it is all too obvious that in the Sahara-Sahel space the respective states have, to different degrees, lost control over parts of their state territories and with it their monopoly on violence, in their investigations of ‘emerging political orders’, this Special Issue explores the possibility of governance beyond that of the modern state.
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Book Reviews

Unpacking the Security Cooperation Puzzle in EU-Japan Relations
Elena Atanassova-Cornelis
Review of: EU-Japan security cooperation : trends and prospects, edited by Emil Kirchner and Han Dorussen, Routledge, 2019
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How to Deal with Political Bullying
Enrico Padoan
Review of: Populocracy : the tyranny of authenticity and the rise of populism, by Catherine Fieschi, Agenda Publishing, 2019
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Contiene

14/11/2020
The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 1-17
14/11/2020
The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 18-36
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 37-53
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 54-68
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 69-83
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 84-99
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 100-117
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 118-132
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 133-136
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The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 137-139
14/11/2020
The International Spectator, Vol. 55, No. 4, December 2020, p. 140-142

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