In a region facing serious security and humanitarian problems, Joe Biden is already raising hopes. The Trump administration, for its part, has a mixed record.
In February 2007, the Bush administration created the US-Africa Command, which aims to coordinate increasingly important military operations on the continent. Fearing terrorist attacks in September 2001, Washington decided to support the fight against the Horned Shepherds in Africa, Boko Haram on Lake Chad, and al-Qaeda in the Sahel.
Donald Trump, a project that has been put on hold for the benefit of the Prosper Africa project, was created to counter the growing influence of Russia and China on the continent.
According to John Bolton, then national security adviser, US strategy was primarily aimed at strengthening trade relations and counter-terrorism through bilateral means, while at the same time attempting to counter the policies of Chinese and Russian aggression on the continent. Especially created special summits.
Competition between major powers
But the realization of this strategy was delayed, giving the impression that the United States needed to focus more on a strategy that would transform the global context of rivalry between the major powers in Africa.
An agenda in Sahel that felt isolated from the priorities of security, poverty, displacement, human rights or climate.
Thus, the appointment of Peter Pam as Sahel’s first ambassador in March 2020 could not bring about significant change, and a clear and ambitious strategy to support international efforts in the region has not been denied.
Since the Trump administration, the G5 Sahel nations have maintained US opposition to the UN “strengthened mandate”, especially in support of this counter-terrorism force. In the eyes of some Sahelian officials, US reluctance has prevented this force from reaching its full operational potential.
There are large drone bases in the United States that act as surveillance bases
Added to this is the Trumpist threat that the U.S. Armed Forces could withdraw from the Sahel in connection with the US strategy of restructuring and reducing personnel engaged in foreign operations. This strategy was seen as a departure from counter-terrorism efforts in Sahel. Knowing that there are significant drone sites in the United States, they have been surveillance sites for the entire Sahel since 2013.
Not to mention Trump’s latest snap, which requires fifteen African countries, including Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania, to pay the deposit before any trip to the United States.
No more trust with Python
In view of this mixed record of the Trump administration, Joe Biden, who has been generally criticized for its indifference and its strategic choices in foreign policy, is already raising more confidence in Sahel in the face of security and humanitarian issues. This is a testament to the “enhanced cooperation” and “hope to strengthen cooperation” expressed in the respective congratulatory messages from the presidents of Burkina Faso and Niger after the election of the new US president.
Heads of state in the region are based on a change of attitude under the new administration, both based on the announcement of the return of the United States to various international organizations and personalities for strategic positions that are highly aligned with the multilateral.
Thus, the appointments of Anthony Blingen (former Deputy National Security Adviser and later Deputy Secretary of State) as President of US Diplomacy at the United Nations or as President of Linda Thomas-Greenfield (Obama’s former “Mrs. Africa”). Suggest renewed interest in Sahel and the possibility of the G5 at the United Nations reconsidering Sahel’s question.
The appointment, led by Lloyd Austin, a retired Pentagon general with much experience in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, shows that the issue will be at the center of the new administration’s concerns.
Sahel, Obama’s former vice president, was seen as a supporter of pluralism
This choice is highly commendable because of the stalemate in the fight against terrorism in Sahel, which attracts many militants from the Middle East. In this perspective, the poles, apart from the “vice politics” of Obama’s former vice president, individualism and his predecessor, are seen as Sahel’s defender of diversity and his country’s return to the center of the international game. Accept leadership, despite the role Africa has to play in other major powers.
Source: Change of tone in Libyan document, new administration demandsing all foreign actors ” [commencent] Immediate withdrawal of their forces “and” [respectent] Libyan sovereignty ”.
In addition, Biden management may be a technical partner in taking care of climate concerns and realizing the “big green wall” in Sahel. This ambitious 8,000 km deforestation project, which stretches from Dakar to Djibouti, aims to combat desertification and promote economic and environmental change in one of the world’s driest and poorest regions.
Faced with these challenges, Joe Biden’s strategy is eagerly anticipated. Thus, while learning from past mistakes and utilizing its achievements, the current administration, which specializes in big names in diplomacy, appears to be a strategic partner capable of enhancing the operational effectiveness of efforts. Stopped at Sahel, it faces the biggest security and humanitarian challenges in its history.