Perilous Desert: Insecurity in the Sahara

The Sahara suffers from a perfect storm of weaknesses. Foreign assistance that relies exclusively on counterterrorism will only exacerbate the problems.
Published April 17, 2013 by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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The geopolitical significance of the Sahara is becoming painfully clear. Islamist militant groups and transnational criminal networks are operating in the region's most fragile states, exploiting widespread corruption, weak government capacity, crushing poverty, and entrenched social and ethnic tensions. The unrest spills over borders and aggravates protracted regional crises.

This insecurity raises urgent concerns for the broader Sahara and the West. Perilous Desert details the sources of instability and what can be done to minimize the threat of simmering conflicts.

Leading experts, through comprehensive accounts of the changing landscape, demonstrate how foreign assistance that relies exclusively on counterterrorism will only exacerbate the problems. Solutions require understanding and combatting the roots of the Sahara's many challenges.  

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About the Middle East Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.



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