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Emerging practices of intervention: The new G5 Sahel Joint Force


The most recent armed conflict in Mali and its neighboring countries erupted already in 2012, since then, the international military responses to it have been highly dynamic. The most recent change has been the launch of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, on 2 July 2017 in Bamako, in a ceremony attended by the five presidents of the participating countries, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad, as well as, interestingly, the French president. Less than two weeks earlier, the United Nations Security Council had discussed the mandate for this force, which is heavily supported by France, but stopped short of giving its full (financial) support. The joint force of the G5 Sahel draws its troops from the five participating countries and aims to provide a robust military means for counter-terrorism activities across their territories, in coordination with the French-led Operation Barkhane and the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). MINUSMA is the first UN mission since the 1990s to deploy again a large number of Western troops. Nevertheless, in terms of active combat, Western countries and organizations are rather supporting an alternative framework, which suggests a change in the practices of intervention and of the institution military intervention itself. While the Joint Force draws on regional African troops, the struggle for its legitimacy, funding and scope spans the regional and the global, including negotiations among institutions like ECOWAS, the AU, EU, UN as well as African states and European states, especially France. This session will draw attention to this recent instance of the changing practices of military intervention. A presentation (of about 20 minutes) will consider how the G5 Sahel Joint Force was constructed by a variety of actors and how it engaged with existing institutions, both in terms of organizations and existing practices for intervention. The subsequent time for discussion (about 30 minutes) will provide the opportunity for preliminary critical reflections on the implications of this emerging issue.

Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, Room Lincolnshire II (6th floor), Chicago, IL, USA