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Europe in the Sahel: An Analysis of the European Counter-Terrorism Structure Between Past and Present to Understand its Actions


This paper aims to analyze the link between organized crime and jihadist terrorism in the Sahel area and the wider Mediterranean in the light of European intervention. To this end, several examples, case studies, and data on the phenomenon will be offered to highlight how this link is marked and essential, as well as the need to understand it in depth and address it transnationally in a coordinated manner to deal with it effectively. This paper is mainly based on draft work, which is essential, as well as critical research work on primary and secondary sources. In particular, the author wants to highlight some critical issues of European action in different structural and operational areas concerning the terrorist threat and European missions in the Sahel.

In the course of the discussion, several problems and shortcomings emerged regarding EU intervention in the Sahelian area, especially in the management of migratory flows, the rights of migrants, and the way development programs are implemented in African partner countries. The limitations encountered relate primarily to the difficulty of analyzing and synthesizing a wide variety of sources and data and to the author’s specific knowledge that does not allow for the analysis of significant dynamics relevant to the area under study (e.g., gender dynamics). In conclusion, there is a need for international actors to reconsider some of their strategies so that a new strategic plan for the area can be put in place to address the real causes of its underdevelopment and its social problems concerning the proliferation of armed militias, criminal networks, and jihadist groups.