Securitizing Irregular Migration: A Critical Analysis of the Impacts of Counterterrorism Operations on Migration in the Sahel.
Bernard, Aneliese K.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: The growing presence of violent extremism in the Sahel has shifted international security interests towards the region since 2011. Efforts are increasingly focused on the need to mitigate the propensity for weak and failing states to collapse and leave room for ... read moreungoverned spaces to emerge. This form of interventionism, or soft counterterrorism, is quickly shaping international involvement in the region and elsewhere, where gaps in governance in hostile territory are often seen to serve as terrorist havens. However, the vast majority of these programs have lacked nuanced programming that focuses on eradicating the endemic vulnerabilities of people in this region; moreover it is these livelihood and development vulnerabilities that lead to governance failures in the capacity of these weak state to confront terrorism and social marginalization. Furthermore, counterterrorism operations are increasingly targeting irregular migration, as it facilitates the growth of violent extremism in the Sahel through illicit economic activity. This paper presents an analysis of how counterterrorism operations and security sector reforms in the Sahel have failed to sustainably strengthen Sahelian states, because they encourage the centralization of government resources instead of efficiently allocating goods to needs-based communities, for the purpose of bolstering these vulnerable groups against poverty and extremism. Simultaneously, many of these reforms, through attempts at strengthening borders and local militaries, have ostensibly created more vulnerability for marginalized populations, whose livelihoods are linked to the ability to freely move across the region without legal and political restraint.read less