Organised Criminal-Terrorist Groups in the Sahel: Why a Counterterrorism/Counterinsurgency-Only Approach Ignores the Roots of the Problem

Stream: Panel 76 - International Relations: Counter-insurgency 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


The Sahel region is home to a number of groups that profess to be jihadi in orientation but that rely heavily on organised criminal activity, which nets these groups millions in revenue and helps embed them within local communities. As worrying as the presence of these entities is, what is of greater concern is the way the US, as well as France, has responded to the threat they pose: to securitize and militarize the region. In this analysis, after an explanation of the crime-terrorism nexus—that is, of the human insecurity and criminal activities these regional groups exploit—attention shifts to an assessment of US and French counterterrorism and counterinsurgency policies in the Sahel, which are not answering the core reason why criminal-terrorist groups prosper in this region.


Isaac Kfir (Presenter), Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism
Isaac is a Research Associate at the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Syracuse University, From 2009 to 2016 he was a Visiting Professor of International Relations and Law at Syracuse University and prior to that he was an Assistant Professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel (2006-2011). Isaac received his Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics (1999) and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law and the Bar Vocational Certificate from BPP Law School (2001).