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British Sahel-Sahara Forum

Since the French intervention in Mali of January 2013 western militaries have become much more present and active in the Sahel and Sahara regions of northwest Africa, especially in Mali, Niger and Chad. The British Sahel-Sahara Forum analyses the drivers of conflict in this new front in global counter-terrorism operations as well as the increasingly securitised international response to it. Treating the vast zone from Libya, Tunisia and Algeria in the north to Mauritania, Nigeria and Chad in the south as one strategic region, it seeks to assist policy-makers by generating alternative responses to building regional security through sustainable development and inclusive governance. 

The NATO-led campaign to unseat Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, the French- and UN-led interventions in Mali of 2013, the increasing internationalisation of the war in northeast Nigeria and the Arab proxy wars in Libya since 2014 have all focused attention on insecurity in the Sahel-Sahara region and the ways in which several localised conflicts there are both interconnected and sucking in external powers.

Since 2011, ORG has been researching the nature of conflict and external intervention in the Sahel-Sahara, including:

  • The renewed civil war in Libya and its proxy war dimensions;
  • The evolving nature of conflict and instability in northern Mali;
  • The growing internationalisation of Boko Haram’s campaign in the Lake Chad Basin;
  • The nature of France’s Opération Barkhane regional deployment;
  • The covert or ‘remote control’ war being waged by US special forces and private contractors across the Sahel-Sahara.

Our many publications on the region include:

   Cameroon’s Far North: Responding to Boko Haram
   (March 2017)

   We Need Greater Transparency on UK Military Operations in Libya (Remote Control, May 2016)

   Nigeria’s Private Army: A Perception Study of Private Military Contractors in the War against Boko Haram (Remote Control, May 2016)

   Intervention in Libya: Why Here? Why Now? What Next? (February 2016)

   Libya: Between the Sahel-Sahara and Islamic State Crises (August 2015)

   War in Yemen: the African Dimension (April 2015)

   Devils in the Detail: Implementing Mali’s New Peace Accord (March 2015)

   Nigeria’s Bloody Valentine: Boko Haram’s Electoral Opportunity (February 2015)

   Libya’s Proxy Battlefield (January 2015)

   Too Quiet on the Western Front? The Counter-Terrorism Build-Up in the Sahel-Sahara Continues (November 2014)

   From New Frontier to New Normal: Counter-Terrorism Operations in the Sahel-Sahara (August 2014)

   The Internationalisation of Nigeria’s Boko Haram Campaign (May 2014)

   Security in the Sahel: Militarisation of the Sahel (February 2014)

   Security in the Sahel: Stabilising Mali in 2014 (January 2014)

   Building Sustainable Peace in the Central African Republic (December 2013)

   Political Violence in North and West Africa: A Sustainable Security Response (June 2013)

   Casualty Recording as an Evaluative Capability: Libya and the Protection of Civilians (March 2013)

   Why Western Intervention is Destined to Fail in Mali (January 2013)

   Mali: Consequences of a War (January 2013)

   Mali: The Risk of Intervention (June 2012)

   Nigeria: The Generic Context of the Boko Haram Violence (April 2012)

   After Libya: Now Thrive the Armourers (October 2011)

   Libya: The Toll NATO Didn’t Count (August 2011)

   The Casualties of War: Libya and Beyond (July 2011) 


Richard Reeve

Richard Reeve is the Director of Oxford Research Group's (ORG) Sustainable Security Programme and ORG Coordinator. Richard has particular expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa, peace and...

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Alasdair McKay

Alasdair joined Oxford Research Group (ORG) in January 2016. He holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the social sciences from the universities of Manchester and Aberyswyth. Prior to...

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Professor Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers is Oxford Research Group's (ORG) Global Security Consultant. He has worked in the field of international security, arms control and political violence for over 30 years.


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Oliver Scanlan

Oliver is Senior Programme Officer for ORG’s Sustainable Security Programme, with a particular focus on climate change and marginalisation as drivers of global insecurity. For the last ten years...

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Tim Street

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Chris Abbott

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Prof. Amitav Acharya

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Mariano Aguirre

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Prof. Marcela Donadio

Marcela Donadio is the Executive Secretary of RESDAL - Red de Seguridad y Defensa de América Latina (Latin American Defense and Seucirty Network). There she heads RESDAL's public security...

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Prof. Carolina Hernandez

Carolina G. Hernandez is currently Professor of Political Science at the University of the Philippines and the holder of its Carlos P. Romulo Professorial Chair in International Relations. She is...

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Isabel Hilton

Isabel Hilton is a London based international journalist and broadcaster, and is Chief Executive of China Dialogue, the world's first fully bilingual website devoted to the environment. She began her...

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Dr Bassma Kodmani

Bassma Kodmani is an Advisor to ORG’s Sustainable Security Programme. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative, a network of independent Arab research and...

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Prof. Laurie Nathan

Laurie Nathan is an Advisor to ORG’s Sustainable Security Programme. He is the Director of the Centre for Mediation in Africa at the University of Pretoria and Visiting Professor at Cranfield...

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Michael Renner

Michael Renner is a Senior Researcher at the Washington, DC-based Worldwatch Institute.  His work has mostly focused on the linkages between environment, resources, and conflict, post-disaster...

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Jürgen Trittin

Jürgen Trittin is an Advisor to ORG’s Sustainable Security Programme. He is a member of the German Bundestag, where he chairs the Parliamentary Group of the Alliance ‘90/Green Party. From 1998-2005...

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Dr Benjamin Zala

Benjamin Zala is a Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester, UK, where his works focuses on great power diplomacy, rising powers in the global order and global security...

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