DC’s focus on the Sahel has exploded since the emergence of AQIM and Boko Haram around 2009. As a Peace Corps volunteer heading out to the Sahel in 2008, I was able to find very little on the region, so this is a much needed emphasis.
I’m sure that most readers of this blog will be aware of a 2 day conference, ‘Governance and Security in the Sahelian States: From Crisis to Sustainable Recovery’ that is taking place at SAIS this Thursday and Friday (the agenda is here).
The exigencies of my job mean that I probably won’t be able to attend, but I hope to hear from those of you who do. The conference looks set to be another great contribution of SAIS to the African affairs discourse in DC.
One interesting observation – the conference appears to convene no experts on either Mauritania or Burkina Faso. The US is a great supporter of the authoritarian regime that has governed Burkina for over a quarter of a century and Mauritania, governed by a coup leader turned politician, is also a strong ally in the war on terror.