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ICCT Live Briefing: Ten Years Later – Lessons from Decade-Long Counter-Terrorism Efforts in the Sahel

17 January @ 4:00 pm 5:30 pm

On Tuesday 17 January 2023, from 16:00 to 17:30 CET, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) will host a Live Briefing ‘Ten Years Later – Lessons from Decade-Long Counter-Terrorism Efforts in the Sahel’ moderated by Méryl Demuynck, Research Fellow under ICCT’s Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism Pillar.

January 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of France’s Operation Serval aimed at countering terrorist groups’ presence across northern Mali, soon followed by Operation Barkhane deployed throughout the broader Sahel. A decade later, the region continues to be destabilised by a plethora of violent non-state armed groups, including various al-Qaeda and Islamic State-affiliated organisations. Alongside a constantly worsening security situation and political instability, illustrated by the multiple coups conducted over the past two years, the Sahel moreover seems to have turned into a major stage for global powers competition and strategic rivalries.

This Live Briefing will reflect on the lessons learned from a decade of international, regional, and national efforts to counter violent extremism in the Sahel, and discuss the potential impact of the reconfiguration of the European and international presence – including Barkhane forces’ withdrawal from Mali – on regional security and local communities.  It will moreover explore the drivers and impact of the shift away from traditional European partners, and the entry of new actors onto the Sahel’s security scene, including Russian Wagner Group mercenaries.