A key security partner of the region for more than a decade, the European Union today faces growing challenges and the potential failure of its policy towards the Sahel. While the cycle of violence does not appear to be receding, rivals such as Russia – but also Western allies such as Turkey or the Gulf states – are building new partnerships in the region. Contesting the idea that exogenous factors alone explain strategic shortcomings, we explore instead how the evolution of EU initiatives aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) has contributed to strategic misalignments with Sahelian partners. The choice of new international partners by Sahelian states does not primarily follow from ideological reasons, but rather displays tactical ductility and sensitivity to political costs and strategic opportunity. The EU assistance to the emergence of a regional security model, based increasingly on securitization and militarization through ambiguous, at times incoherent and self-referential policies, should be examined to better understand the weakening of political influence in the Sahel.

Strategic misalignment: European security and P/CVE engagement in the Sahel

Baldaro E.
;
Strazzari F.
2023-01-01

Abstract

A key security partner of the region for more than a decade, the European Union today faces growing challenges and the potential failure of its policy towards the Sahel. While the cycle of violence does not appear to be receding, rivals such as Russia – but also Western allies such as Turkey or the Gulf states – are building new partnerships in the region. Contesting the idea that exogenous factors alone explain strategic shortcomings, we explore instead how the evolution of EU initiatives aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) has contributed to strategic misalignments with Sahelian partners. The choice of new international partners by Sahelian states does not primarily follow from ideological reasons, but rather displays tactical ductility and sensitivity to political costs and strategic opportunity. The EU assistance to the emergence of a regional security model, based increasingly on securitization and militarization through ambiguous, at times incoherent and self-referential policies, should be examined to better understand the weakening of political influence in the Sahel.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11382/562036
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