Algeria In The Sahel
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There are a lot of natural resources in the Sahel that has led to foreign intervention and rapidly increased the rivalry between the world economic powers across the region. For reasons of long-term security, the Algerian leaderships have encouraged state-building and dialogue as the best way to help The Sahel out of a crisis. The security in the area has not been great, organized crimes, arms trafficking, food insecurity, fragile governance, and malnutrition have been huge problems and with this comes challenges for the stability of the area. The Sahel is seen as a source of security threats by its neighboring countries. Furthermore, some important factors about the Sahel are the energy resources that have been discovered in the region, and of course the rivalry among the world major powers (US, China, and France) who are looking at the natural reserves of the region.
The Sahel is almost 7,700 Km from the Horn of Africa to Senegal and around 650 km wide. The Sahel covers a huge amount of barren or semi-barren grassland. In the South it has a green savanna and to the north the Sahara. This being said one can see that the Sahel covers basically the expanse stretching from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean bordering with part of Eritrea, Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, etc. This is more than 80 percent which is comprised of desert lands. The Sahel is super important in Algeria’s security approach. Algeria has been dealing with threats from rebel movements in northern Niger and Mali this is one of the reasons why the Algerian government used its diplomatic means to find a solution to those problems and refrain from foreign intervention in the southern borders. The focus of the Algerian security approach has been concentrated on the threats that are coming from the Sahel region countries which are considered threats and terrorism exporting states. One of the major principles of the Algerian foreign policy is to strengthen international cooperation and develop friendly relations among states based on equality.
Algeria has realized that their country is located between many other regions that affect the security situation in the region these are the regions who are experiencing deep internal conflicts such as growing ethnic conflicts, fragile governments, and weak economies. The question then arises, so why has it become a problem for Algeria? because the Sahel became a safe haven for terrorists’ groups such as al-Qaida and Boko Haram. There is a big percentage of drug trafficking in the world goes through this region. As well as, foreign intervention (humanitarian aid), which means those acts as soft and hard threats to the security of Algeria. The Algerian security approach is to combine the security and the political solution to counter those problems. In other words, they not only focus on military choices to approach the threats, but also the diplomatic and peaceful way such as promoting dialogue, negotiations and state-building.
In my opinion keeping in mind that terrorism in the Sahel region is vastly advancing to this day and that the Algerian government builds a general security approach to the region to counter all kinds of threats relates to its security it may threaten its national security. Algeria has expressed its concerns about the security across its borders in the south with Niger and Mali which is known for Islamist militants that carried out deadly attacks on the government and society. With corrupt, or absent leadership in the region incapable of providing for the people, extremist groups are able to recruit and sustain operations. However, it’s difficult to restore and extend state authority throughout the Sahel region with a high-security threat.