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Conflict Networks in North and West Africa

image of Conflict Networks in North and West Africa

Conflicts in North and West Africa have become more violent and widespread than in the past. They have also become more difficult to resolve due to the complex relationships between a growing number of belligerents with diverging agendas. Building on a dataset of more than 36 000 violent events over a 23‑year period and three case studies (Lake Chad, Central Sahel and Libya), this report maps conflict networks and the evolution of rivalries and alliances in 21 North and West African countries. It applies an innovative approach, Dynamic Social Network Analysis, to explain the types and evolution of relationships across actors in conflict. Finally, the report analyses the impact of military interventions on the re‑composition of violent groups and the shifting nature of insecurity. This new analysis, based on temporal and spatial approaches contributes to the creation of strategies that will ensure long‑term political stability and serves as a reminder that there is a need for co‑ordinated regional approaches and place‑based policies.

English Also available in: French

Conflict environment and military interventions in North and West Africa

This chapter examines the impact of military interventions on conflict networks in North and West Africa. It illustrates that the French involvement in the Sahel, NATO’s Operation Unified Protector in Libya, and the joint offensive against Boko Haram around Lake Chad, were interventions that aimed to tip the balance of power to one side. None of these efforts, however, has achieved a lasting resolution to the violence that continues to tear apart North and West Africa. The impact of these interventions on conflict networks has been limited in duration and the jihadist and rebel organisations have strengthened following the initial shock. Finally, there has been an ever-increasing price paid by civilians in the region since 2010, reminding of the need for future interventions to act more in favour of protecting civilians.

English Also available in: French

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