Managing the Sahelo-Saharan Islamic Insurgency in Mauritania

The crisis of Islamic insurgency in the Sahel emerged out of an unprecedented spread of the global jihadist ideology in the region, the spillover of the Algerian and Libyan crises, and the people’s growing dissatisfaction vis-à-vis their governments. Mauritania was the first Sahelian country to suffer from the crisis of Islamic insurgency; and it was also, unexpectedly, the first Sahelian country to have reached what should be called the post-Islamic insurgency period. After six years (2005-2011) of struggle, Mauritania had, in fact, succeeded in expelling the threat of jihadism out of its territory. This success must be credited to the states’ effective response to the crisis, particularly the combination of military political and ideological responses. The outbreak of the Malian crisis has had a positive impact on Mauritania’s stability as it allowed the withdrawal of many Mauritanian jihadists from the national scene to focus instead on jihad in Mali and elsewhere in the region. The Malian crisis has further intensified the political and ethno-racial debates while badly hurting the local economy. Finally, the Sahelo-Saharan crisis of Islamic insurgency is a regional crisis that needs a regional solution. Mauritania remains vulnerable as the insurgency continues to spread throughout the region.

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Yahaya Ibrahim_StakesMauritania