A few years ago, we could not have imagined writing this blog. However, since 2012, the Sahel has become a conflict zone. We reported on several occasions that things were going wrong, but there was hope that international interventions might halt the the destabilisation of the region. It seemed illogical that the population of the Sahel, who had long lived with Islam and who were unenthusiastic about strict versions of the faith, would turn to Salafism and become fanatical Muslims, secluding their women and so on. But it happened and we do not hesitate to use the word Talibanization to describe the process underway in Northern and Central Mali, Northern Burkina Faso, Western Niger, and in the Lake Chad area in Northern Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. The presence and establishment of ISWAP (Islamic State’s West African Province) around Lake Chad has filtered through to the international press and is considered alarming. Similar tendencies in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso have yet to reach international attention. No greetings, no music The reports of researchers from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger (see www.nomadesahel.org) tell of changes in societies in these areas. Where, previously, greetings were a social obligation, now people – and especially women – no longer greet each other publicly. Women, who are central to the pastoral economy, no longer sell their milk in the villages or on the market. Songs and music from the small guitar are no longer heard. Such activities are forbidden. Many (young) people adhere to these rules, perhaps out of fear, out of conviction, or for social convenience. We cannot be sure because talking about these things in the regions where these rules reign is not possible. Questioning the new norms is seen as suspect and putting one’s life at risk. Researchers believe that such alterations will change the culture of the people – their people – for good. Killings Since January 2019, the conflict in these and adjacent areas has entered a new phase. Cruel and very ugly violence is commonplace. The massacres of civilians in Yirgou (Burkina Faso) and in Ogossagou (Mali) and more recently in a mosque in northern Burkina Faso, have shocked the world. These killings, which were immediately referred to as possible genocidal, interethnic, farmer-herder conflicts, are the extreme outcome of the layered and complex conflict that has now surpassed all imagination of what a conflict can be. It is too simplistic to depict these killings as inter-community conflicts. Other forces are at play, such as interventions by national governments, the subcontracting of security to militias (supported by businessmen and national governments), and a militaristic approach to combatting opposition and terrorism that uses racist logic to target populations. But the military are neither immune to attack. On several occasions, military camps have been plundered by ‘terrorist’ groups. Recently, on 1-2 October, the army camps in the border zone between central Mali and Burkina Faso (Boulikessi and Mondoro) were attacked, 40 soldiers were killed and 60 are still missing. Protests in Bamako and Sevaré followed against the incapability of the Malian State and international forces to stop the war. Even a camp of MINUSMA, the UN intervention force in Mali, was plundered by protesters. Consequently, we are seeing further destabilization in the region on all fronts. Insecurity A fundamental driver behind the escalation of these conflicts and the possibility of a Sahel Caliphate is the absence of security. Since 2011, when the Tamacheq attempted for the fourth time since Mali’s independence to break away from the post-colonial national state, there has been perpetual insecurity in the region. When the Tamacheq fight was hijacked by Islamic groups in the Sahel, the collapse of the national state and its services was a fact and even France’s Operation Serval and its successor Barkhane in 2013 have done little to change the situation. International military operations like MINUSMA, regional military collaboration under the heading of G5-Sahel, and national armies have not managed to control the areas outside the main cities. Instead, insecurity has spread from northern Mali, to Central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, and parts of Niger. Uncontrollable militia Military impotence has seen private security forces taking over the protection of the population against criminality and insecurity. The youth have united in militias for self-defence. These are often organized per village/small town and one of the uniting elements is ethnicity. The Malian government have also used Fulani self-defence groups – yimbe ladde (people of the bush) – as a tool in the war against the Tamacheq. It is no surprise that these groups turned into uncontrollable militia. It was clear from the start that these military actions would not restore security to the region, on the contrary, as similar experiences show in past conflicts. Over time, these
Conseguiu destruir um país. Não é uma proeza de que muitos sejam capazes. Nesse estilo e dimensão, só a dupla Chavez/Maduro.
O Programa Mundial de Alimentos (WFP) na terça-feira fez um pedido de emergência para o Zimbábue de 331 milhões de dólares, a fim de evitar a insegurança alimentar que pode ser enfrentada por mais de cinco milhões de pessoas no início de 2020 devido à seca.