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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The War on Terror in a Haze of Dust: Potholes and Pitfalls on the Saharan Front
Authors:Lecocq, BazISNI
Schrijver, PaulISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic terms:Sahara
United States
Subjects:international politics
Islamic movements
foreign intervention
international relations
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Military, Defense and Arms
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589000601157147
Abstract:As a consequence of American foreign policy, the war on terror has been moved into the Sahara and Sahel. In this article the authors argue that events in the Sahara are being shaped by the nature of the desert itself. It is so vast and underpopulated that the news in it takes strange forms. As media are scarce, conversation and gossip, known in the Sahara as 'télégraphe saharien' or 'téléphone touarègue', predominate. All news is locally coloured by the nature of interpersonal relations. Internationally operating movements and global intellectual currents in Islam, such as Salafism and the Neobandi tradition of Tablighi Jama'at, have adapted to the local context. The authors suggest that when it comes to understanding and integrating in the local region, the various Islamist movements are streets ahead of the Americans who have not yet learned to read the local 'intelligence'. The local population tend to tolerate the Islamists' presence, but this depends on the extent to which the war on terror impinges on the local economy and society. The present balance is precarious and there is a real potential for an explosion of violence. Bibiliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]