Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 06/2014

No Time to Hit Snooze in North Africa and the Sahel

Joshua C. Burgess

February 2014

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


The Obama administration should demonstrate renewed resolve to counter growing extremism in the region and build lasting stability, starting with a joint U.S.-French statement during President Francois Hollande's visit to Washington this week. Chronic instability has become a defining characteristic across the Trans-Sahara region, affecting everything from security to socioeconomics and human rights. At a time when many locals believe the United States is disengaging from the region, jihadists and foreign fighters operating in and returning home from Libya and Syria are fanning the fires of violent extremism. If those fires are to be controlled, Washington needs to join with international and regional partners to define and apply a comprehensive regional strategy.