Post-Gaddafi repercussions in the Sahel

This project is a collaboration between NAI and the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra. It was established in the spring of 2012 with the intention to explore the emerging security challenges in the Sahel region after the fall of Gaddafi.

Researchers: Mats Utas, Emy Lindberg

Project started in 2012, finazlized in 2014

The North African Spring has had consequences reaching far beyond North Africa. For instance, the brutal killing of longstanding Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, has resulted in unintended and comprehensible repercussions in the Sahel region and beyond. Over the past decades, longstanding and far-ranging political and economic ties have been established between the Gaddafi regime and both governments and local strongmen in the region. Currently in Chad, Mali, Central African Republic, Niger, Algeria and Mauritania, but also in the Darfur region of Sudan. Local political maps are being redrawn, as political and military strongmen lost their chief patron. Simultaneously, militant groups of loyal Gaddafi supporters are returning from Libya to their former homelands, contesting for new space in the fragile political topography of the sub-region. Even before the fall of Gaddafi, it was hard, if not impossible, to separate flows of refugees, and migrants from mercenary soldiers and smugglers from radical Islamists such as AQIM. The fall of Gaddafi complicated this map and the military-political dynamics in the region and far beyond. On the political scene, it is crucial to understand what returning mercenary soldiers from the Gaddafi regime will imply for the many local armed struggles in the region. Furthermore, what will the influx of arms and ammunition flowing from Libya to the region mean? If anti-aircraft missiles SA-7 and other advanced military equipment ends up in the hands of AQIM or loyalists will it shift the nature of the game? Will it also change business strategies of smuggling refugees, drugs and contraband cigarettes to the north, a business that not only includes local strongmen, but also government officials in the named countries? Far from being just local battles of control over space and people the scenarios increasingly ties up with global political and economic agendas.

Emy Lindberg
Mats Utas
North Africa
Political development
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