Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Sources extérieures des menaces terroristes en Afrique de l'Ouest

Kohnert, Dirk (2022): Sources extérieures des menaces terroristes en Afrique de l'Ouest.

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Fighting terrorism is a complex task, not limited to military options. It also concerns State-building, nationalism and inclusive sustainable development. The roots of underlying conflicts were already laid during colonialism, the slave trade, plundering of resources and arbitrary border establishment. The battle cannot be won by occupation nor by internal efforts of the countries affected alone, particularly not when terrorists enjoy secret support from parts of the army and the country's political elite. There are outside sources fomenting violent conflict through close cooperation between transnational crime and terrorist networks. Money laundering and financing of terrorism in global financial systems are part and parcel of the problem. Also, many activists and combatants are not just driven by religious fanaticism and ideological zeal. Revenge, mere survival and local strives between conflicting groups often play a decisive role too. Ill- and ungoverned spaces favour warlordism, both of radical jihadist and non-religious terrorist movements, driven by localism and informal networks. The military response of some governments and security services degenerated into inadequate state counterterrorism with no regard for local populations. It resulted in challenges to the rule of law and human rights in these countries. Although trans-national military counterinsurgency among ECOWAS governments improved, it remained hampered by the divide between Anglophone and Francophone countries and the vested interest of former colonial rulers France and Great Britain. By now, terrorists also effectively use cyberspace and social media to create fear and spread their violent ideologies. The interactions between crime and terror in West Africa will continue in the foreseeable future. It may even increase, considering the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and famines caused by failing cereal imports as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine. The effects on the social structure are considerable, including the population's dwindling trust in the state administration and the villagers' willingness to side with the terrorists. The fight against terrorism demands viable long-term solutions that take into account the linkages between counterterrorism, the rule of law and human rights and socio-economic development.

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