The violence in central Sahel countries is fuelled by communal conflict, banditry, and violent extremism. These conflicts are partly rooted in a crisis of governance of rural areas and are exacerbated by climate change, demographics, and internal and cross-border migration. Fostering cooperation and dialogue between security actors, local authorities, and civilian populations, especially those that are marginalized and stigmatized, is key to restoring trust in public institutions.
US engagement in the Sahel has been overly militaristic. It's high time that Washington rethinks its strategy in the region with fewer counterterrorism-related activities and better, targeted diplomatic, humanitarian, and development efforts that deal with North and West African countries together rather than dividing countries like Algeria and Libya from their Sahelian neighbors.