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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Issue 2132

The Sahel: Local Conflicts, International Stakes
Introduction
Introduction

Sahelian Islam’s Shift Towards Salafism And Its Implications For Regional Terrorism

by Joshua Meserveyvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Sahel region of Africa stretches east from Senegal’s Atlantic coast into Sudan, covering a vast space in which the Sahara Desert peters out southward into savannah. It is predominately Muslim, and specifically Sufi, a type of syncretic Islamic practice that emphasizes the mystical experience of God.

Featured Analysis
Featured Analysis

From The Middle East To The Sahel And Throughout Africa: How Russia Pushes Western Powers Towards The Exit

by Isabelle Lasserrevia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sub-Saharan Africa, the Sahel, the Middle East, Afghanistan. Like an octopus, Russia has extended its tentacles to every crisis riddled corner, filling the void created by the withdrawal of Western forces. Occasionally partnering with Turkey to better share the imperial burden, Vladimir Putin has once again inserted Moscow as a major player on the international scene. To what extent can it take the place of democratic powers?

Featured Analysis

The Sahelian Matrix Of Political Violence

by Heni Nsaibia, Clionadh Raleighvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Sahel is one of the most active conflict theatres on the African continent and has become a major node in the "Global War on Terror'' over the past twenty years. After nearly a decade of foreign military intervention through overlapping counterterrorism, stabilization, and military and security training missions, the conflict is often referred to as a ''Forever War'' alongside other Western-led military interventions in the Middle East and Africa. As military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan draw to a close, attention is increasingly shifting to Africa as the next battlefront— where the Sahel remains a key geopolitical dilemma.

Featured Analysis

Remaining Without Expanding? Examining Jihadist Insurgency in Northeastern Nigeria

by James Barnettvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Over the past twelve years, northeastern Nigeria has experienced one of the most destructive jihadist insurgencies of anywhere in the world. As many as 350,000 people have died and some five million have become displaced as a result of conflict between insurgents commonly known as Boko Haram and the Nigerian state.

Featured Analysis

France In The Sahel Is A Policeman Trying To Escape From Prison

by Michel Goyavia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

On the 10th June, 2021, President Macron announced 'the end of Operation Barkhane' in the Sahel, but he did not announce France's withdrawal from the war against Salafi-jihadist organisations in the area. This is simply a new avatar of France's military engagement in the Sahel after Nicolas Sarkozy's ‘Sahel plan’ and the start of the Special Forces' Operation Sabre in 2009, operation Serval in 2013 and operation Barkhane in 2014. 

Featured Analysis

The Sahel After Afghanistan

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Sahel and the states bordering it are sites of significant jihadist activity that will derive considerable encouragement from the Taliban victory in Afghanistan: Islamism will be on the upswing everywhere. In the Sahel in particular, such violent extremism plays out against the backdrop of weak political structures, poor governance, intercommunal conflicts, and profound economic challenges. These are poor states with growing populations.

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Featured Analysis

The Long Encounter: China And Islam’s Irreconcilable Tensions

by Michael R. Auslinvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

China’s relationship with Islam goes back to the 7th century, when Arab merchants and envoys traveled to Canton (Guangzhou) to discuss trade ties with the Tang dynasty. Building mosques and madrassas, hosting preachers, and creating largely homogenous enclaves within China, Muslim communities persisted throughout repeated disintegration and reformation of Chinese dynasties. 

Featured Analysis

China's Final Solution In Xinjiang

by Miles Maochun Yuvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Since its founding in 1949, the Chinese communist government in Beijing has long considered a northwestern region on its vast political map a primary troubled spot for the regime and has systematically implemented various measures to seek total control of this important territory. Of the four non-China Proper areas, the other three, i.e. Manchuria, Mongolia and Tibet have longer, and more complicated historical connections with China.

Featured Analysis

China & Middle East: Regional Rebalancing

by Sanam Vakilvia The Caravan
Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Middle East, a region once embroiled in the Cold War struggle of east and west, is now bearing witness to new geopolitical shifts.   The emergence of Beijing on the Middle Eastern landscape where it is quenching its thirst for energy resources and forging regional relationships through its One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR) with countries as diverse as Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) comes at the expense of Washington’s longstanding primacy.  Many American strategists find China’s encroachment to be a troubling threat to U.S. national interests. 

Featured Analysis

Planning For Apocalypse: Environmental Change, Islamism, And China

by Sulmaan Wasif Khanvia The Caravan
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Will a new wave of Islamist violence threaten China’s national interests over the coming decades? Good planning does not dismiss worst-case scenarios as unlikely; it asks, instead, how such a scenario might come to pass, thereby illuminating ways to avoid it. A combination of environmental stress and China’s deepening footprint abroad might well produce Islamist terrorism directed at Chinese across the world and at home. Avoiding this requires a strengthened commitment to environmental protection and to policies that mitigate Muslim discontent.

Featured Analysis

The Chinese Approach To Uyghur Separatism(*)

by Jacques Neriahvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Around 22 million Muslims live in China (PRC) today. The Hui, the majority Muslim group in China, are fully integrated into all echelons of Chinese society, and are allowed to practice their religion with almost no interference from the authorities. The dominant minority group, the Uyghurs (roughly 10 million people), are a Sunni Turkish-related population who speak a Turkish dialect and live in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. Other Muslim minority groups are Kazakhs, Dongxiangs, Salar, Tatars, Bonans, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Utsul, Kyrgyz, and Tibetans.

Featured Analysis

Enter The Dragon: China’s Belt And Road Rising In The Middle East

by Afshin Molavivia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cairenes are not modest about their beloved city. It is Umm al-Dunya, they say, the mother of the world. They also call it simply Masr, the Arabic term for Egypt, suggesting, of course, that there is really nothing worth noting in the vast country beyond their grand city on the Nile.

Featured Analysis

Kazakhstan Is Moving Away From China

by Gordon G. Changvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chinese leaders think they can imprison hundreds of thousands of Muslim citizens, attempt to eradicate their religion and culture, and maintain good relations with Central Asian countries and other Muslim-majority societies. The test of this breathtaking proposition is Kazakhstan.

Featured Analysis

Xinjiang: Bridge Or Barrier To Xi Jinping’s Belt And Road Initiative?

by Dru C. Gladneyvia The Caravan
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Why is China taking desperate actions toward the Uyghur and the spread of radical Islam in the vast western region known as Xinjiang?  Experts find little evidence directly linking jihadist-inspired radicalism to specific terrorist attacks and acts of violence in the region, which have been growing over the last decade.  Beginning in early 2017, China began establishing innumerable “re-education centers,” sweeping up nearly 1 million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities, by some estimates, almost 1/10th of their population. 

Introduction

Are We Witnessing 'Peak China'?

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Is there anything more to be said about China? If the twentieth century was "The American Century," then this twenty-first century, by general acclamation, has been assigned to The People's Republic of China. What more needs to be said?

Featured Analysis

Turning A Blind Eye: Why Are Muslim Governments Around The World Keeping Silent About China’s Human Rights Violations Against The Uyghurs?

by Kelly A. Hammond via The Caravan
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Since 2009, the Chinese Party-state has increasingly suppressed the Uyghur community in its northwest province of Xinjiang. However, in the last year, three new concurrent trends have emerged: the situation for Uyghurs both in Xinjiang and for the Uyghurs living abroad has gotten much worse; academics and journalists have been working extremely hard to document and expose the human rights violations against the Uyghurs; and, the international community has finally started to take notice of the abuses inflicted on a Muslim minority population by the Chinese Party-state in a remote region of the People’s Republic of China. 

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The Caravan is envisaged as a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the Greater Middle East. It will be a free and candid exchange of opinions. We shall not lack for topics of debate, for that arc of geography has contentions aplenty. It is our intention to come back with urgent topics that engage us. Caravans are full of life and animated companionship. Hence the name we chose for this endeavor.

We will draw on the membership of Hoover's Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on the Middle East and the Islamic World, and on colleagues elsewhere who work that same political and cultural landscape. Hoover senior fellow Russell Berman directs the project from which this effort originates.