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EU engagement in the Sahel: lessons from Somalia and AfPak
Northern Mali has been compared to a potentially new Afghanistan, and local terrorist groups to the Taliban. Some reports and analyses have highlighted the existence of a terrorist crisis belt from Somalia to Mauritania (including Northern Nigeria).
On 19 November, the Council of the EU welcomed the Crisis Management Concept for a possible EU training mission for Mali, paving the way for the launch of a CSDP operation replicating the work done in Uganda with Somali troops. And many in Brussels have started to speak of EUTM Mali, as if EUTM and more generally the EU approach to the crisis in Somalia was a relevant model for action in Mali.
Comparisons are always a methodologically and politically tricky exercise. Still, it may be worth looking at the main features of EU engagement in Somalia and analysing the extent to which lessons can be learnt for the Sahel.