n Conflict Trends - Transnational security threats and challenges to peacekeeping in Mali

Volume 2014, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Multiple security dilemmas pose significant challenges for several West African states. Narcotics continue to threaten these states, to the extent that the whole continent is now perceived as 'NarcoTrAfica'. While such an assertion may, on the surface, be perceived as excessive, developments in West Africa since 2005 paint a clear picture of the formidable at tacks against the littoral states of the region, and an intrusion into - and, in some instances, the near capture of - the state. Narcotics infiltration into public and private spaces in Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Mali has been characterised as a troubling situation. This article discusses the emergence and deepening of 'unholy alliances' in the Sahel. Such alliances create enabling environments and convergence for multiple criminal enterprises that pose particular threats to states, of which Mali is a case in point. The article then examines the particular case of Mali's near state capture by the convergence of criminalised transnational public-private interests, which eventually posed threats to the survival of the state. The resultant international responses to the collapse of Mali raises critical questions - such as, what threats are posed to peacekeepers when these threats emanate from criminal groups and not states? What operational difficulties are faced by peacekeepers in such circumstances and, finally, how do we understand and appreciate the nexus between transnational threats and the challenges posed to multinational multidimensional peace support operations?

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