What is going on in Mali and the Western Sahel?

jeremy_keenanA semi-arid strip of land bordering the South of the Sahara, the Sahel is at the heart of resource-rich regions. A hide-out for the so-called “Al- Qaeda in Islamic Magreb”, its Western part has this year seen the secession of Northern Mali, a struggle for power between Tuareg separatists and armed Islamist groups, and the destruction of sacred tombs under the new Sharia law. Professor Keenan will discuss the background effect of the “Global War on Terror”, including the roles of Algerian and Western secret intelligence services in the region. He will also examine the significance of cocaine trafficking in this part of Africa. Professor Keenan, from the Department of Anthropology & Sociology at the SOAS, has travelled extensively in the Sahara, and has written a number of books on the Tuareg, including The Lesser Gods of the Sahara: Social Change and Contested Terrain Amongst the Tuareg of Algeria. His Latest books are The Dark Sahara: America’s War on Terror in Africa and its sequel, The Dying Sahara – US Imperialism and Terror in Africa, published this year.