Author Biography

Gerald Krieger is serving as a liaison officer with the United States Army Forces Command. He is currently a doctorate candidate at Salve Regina University. He has published papers on military history, US policy, and international relations topics. He is primarily interested in international relations, focusing on the Greater Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the South China Sea and U.S. Foreign Policy in these regions.



Subject Area Keywords

Africa, Armed groups, Conflict studies, Violent extremism


The Greater Sahel is one of the world’s most troubled regions. Within the region, Mali is the regional lynchpin and has been the focus of French efforts to eradicate terrorist groups. The essay seeks to answer the question, “Why has violence increased and terrorist cells continued to thrive in Mali despite international efforts?” Although the issue is more complicated and nuanced, corruption and poor governance are significant factors in increased violence. Local leaders focus on militarization and violent suppression to maintain control over larger cities while neglecting rural communities. These actions undermine the government’s legitimacy, exacerbated by rampant corruption. Secondary sources and conflict databases are utilized to provide quantitative analysis while also using a qualitative lens to factor in governance and engagement of the public, which are more challenging to measure. The essay provides an overview of the challenges, followed by a background of UN training missions in the Sahel and a cursory history and regional challenges. An analysis of the French withdrawal from Mali highlights the challenges of foreign governments. The conclusion provides suggestions for future missions in the region, focusing on governance, basic human rights, infrastructure, and essential services for the population.