Tribal Dynamics in the Sahel
This paper suggests that tribal dynamics of power structure are key in reestablishing peace and development in the region. The Sahel region’s security challenges are directly influenced by tribalism and ethnic dynamics. In recent decades mistreatment, favoritism, and corruption allowed criminality and multidimensional conflicts to flourish. This is evident in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Libya, and Chad. Lightly governed and poorly secured regions in these countries became more strategic than ever to national, regional, and international actors due to the rise of militancy, criminal activities, and inter community violence. Beyond key cities and towns, these actors struggled and continue to look for the magic formula that will bring sustainable peace. The focus of this policy brief sheds light on the importance of tribal dynamics in the Sahel today. It’s based on author’s personal observations while conducting fieldwork, researching and studying the region in the past eight years, in addition to consulting scholarly papers and books. To provide a bigger picture, examples provided in this brief touch ongoing conflicts in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, southwest Libya, Lake Chad, and northern Chad. The selection of these geographical areas was made based on the current security and humanitarian situations. These countries have seen increasing proliferation of violent extremist organizations (VEOs), inter-community and ethnic tensions that fuel ongoing conflicts in the region and to which states struggle to adequately manage.