Updates on Western Africa

Mali will host a unit of Greek special forces: report

Greece will send a military unit to Mali to join French forces to carry out operations against jihadist terrorists in an operation seperate from the EU’s missions.  Special Forces personnel will be added to the TAKUBA Operational Force (TF TAKUBA) formed by the French and 50 Estonians.

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British corporate plunder helped provoke the war in Western Sahara

On 13 November 2020, Morocco and the Western Saharan Polisario Front exchanged fire after a 29 year ceasefire. The Moroccan army entered Guerguerat to divert Saharawi peaceful protesters blocking Morocco’s “plunder corridor” to Mauritania.

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Exclusif – Emmanuel Macron : « Entre la France et l’Afrique, ce doit être une histoire d’amour »

Interview with the French President in Jeune Afrique.

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Overcoming Area Studies’ Policy-Relevant Research Problem: The Case of the Sahel


Despite seven years of external military interventions to counter violent extremism, the security situation in the Sahel continues to deteriorate. Hard military approaches
predominate in the region despite widespread recognition amongst Sahel specialists that the militarisation of the Sahel may actually be getting in the way of the search for a long-term
political solution. This raises a number of questions that are important for Area Studies specialists: what type of information is brought into policymaking? Who produces it? How is
it processed and what influence does it have? How does, or should, Area Studies fit within that? This research note argues that analysis undertaken by area specialists is indispensable
in order to understand the complex nature of the various interlocking armed conflicts in the western Sahel. It suggests however that the type of thick description that characterises much
area studies analysis can sometimes be too dense and too specific to be of immediate use to policymakers. Drawing on insights from Comparative Area Studies (intra-regional and crossregional
comparison in particular), it explores how Area Studies could contribute more effectively to policy relevant research on the Sahel.

Chafer, T., Stoddard, E. and Toltica, S., 2020. Overcoming Area Studies’ Policy-Relevant Research Problem: The Case of the Sahel. New Area Studies, 1(1), pp.25–40.

Read open access journal article here