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Transatlantic Security from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa

As the so-called Arab Spring has slid into political uncertainty, lingering insecurity and civil conflict, European and American initial enthusiasm for anti-authoritarian protests has given way to growing concerns that revolutionary turmoil in North Africa may in fact have exposed the West to new risks. Critical in cementing this conviction has been the realisation that developments originated from Arab Mediterranean countries and spread to the Sahel have now such a potential to affect Western security and interests as to warrant even military intervention, as France’s operation in Mali attests. EU and US involvement in fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa had already laid bare the nexus between their security interests and protracted crises in sub-Saharan Africa. But the new centrality acquired by the Sahel after the Arab uprisings – particularly after Libya’s civil war – has elevated this nexus to a new, larger dimension. The centre of gravity of Europe’s security may be swinging to Africa, encompassing a wide portion of the continental landmass extending south of Mediterranean coastal states. The recrudescence of the terrorist threat from Mali to Algeria might pave the way to an American pivot to Africa, thus requiring fresh thinking on how the European Union and the United States can better collaborate with each other and with relevant regional actors. All of the above and more has been discussed in Transatlantic Security from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa edited by Riccardo Alcaro and Nicoletta Pirozzi.

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