America Should Not Overcommit Forces in North Africa
America’s short-term success in uprooting ISIS in the Middle East may give policymakers and generals in Washington the confidence to pursue the organization as it migrates to Africa—but following these impulses would be a significant mistake. The very conditions that make the Sahel ripe for expansion by ISIS will make it extremely difficult for the United States to achieve a decisive victory. America’s desire to stymie the Islamic State’s spread in Africa is admirable, but a concerted effort to address the conditions that allow terrorism to thrive through economic assistance, humanitarian aid, and civil society development programs is far more likely to produce a positive outcome than the expansion of the war on terror to the Sahel.
Matt Reisener is a program associate at the Center for the National Interest.