Foreign interventions and networks of violence in the Sahel

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From 2019-2020, I will be coordinating the new research program on political insecurity of the OECD in collaboration with my colleagues Steve Radil and David Russell.

In this new project, our first goal is to develop reliable data on the spatial patterns and social networks of violent extremist organizations in the Sahara-Sahel from the late 1990s to today and at the smallest possible geographic and temporal scale for analysis.

We’ll look at three conflicts in which the relationships between the belligerents are often characterized by complex sets of alliances and conflicts that change over time: the civil war in Mali, the Boko Haram insurrection around Lake Chad, and the civil war in Libya.

We’ll then examine the effect of foreign interventions on the networks of alliances or conflict between violent extremist organizations in the region. we are particularly interested in testing whether foreign interventions lead armed groups to align with the side they believe has the highest chance of winning the conflict or whether they reinforce internal divisions within groups.

We also want to study how should foreign powers choose between competing groups in conflict. Which intervention strategy is more likely to promote cooperation between warring parties while also reducing conflict?

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