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Polisario's Role in Regional Crime and Instability: An Expert's View

A leading Sahel security expert has raised concerns about the role of non-state actors in fueling instability in the region. Dr. Beatriz Mesa, researcher at the Center for Global Studies at the International University of Rabat (UIR), spoke to Barlamane Today on the sidelines of the 8th African Peace and Security Annual Conference (APSACO).


Dr. Mesa identified criminal networks as a major threat to regional stability. These groups, she said, often operate like "parallel states," financing themselves through illegal activities and posing a significant challenge to established governments.

While not explicitly naming specific groups, Dr. Mesa emphasized the importance of addressing the links between criminal activity and terrorism. Territorial control, she argued, is a key objective for both types of organizations.

Local Solutions for Lasting Peace

Dr. Mesa also highlighted the shortcomings of past peacebuilding efforts in the Sahel. Excluding local communities from negotiations, she argued, has been a key factor in their failure. Local populations often view foreign mediators with skepticism, she explained, and prefer representatives who understand their cultural and religious context.

In conclusion, Dr. Mesa stressed the need to revisit the concept of mediation in the Sahel, prioritizing the inclusion of local voices to achieve lasting peace in the region.

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