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Imperialism and Militarism in the Sahel and East Africa

The United States is escalating its military presence in Africa, with the construction of new military bases, drone facilities, and more. Both the CIA and Pentagon are conducting operations with little to no public scrutiny. France and other major powers are also increasing their presence to 'combat terrorism' and protect what it regards as its “own” strategic resources, including land, oil and uranium.

The militarization and the conflict it perpetuates in and around the Sahara has created extremely dire circumstances for the people of the region, creating a major barrier to working class organizing on the continent. Understanding these dynamics is critical for building international solidarity from the Sahel to East Africa and beyond.



Samar Al-Bulushi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Irvine. Her research is broadly concerned with surveillance, militarism, and policing in the context of the so-called 'War on Terror' in East Africa. She is a contributing editor at Africa is a Country and her work has appeared in The Guardian, Al-Jazeera, Intercepted, Jacobin, Pambazuka, and Africa is a Country.

Brittany Meché is the Gaius Bolin Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Studies at Williams College. Brittany earned her PhD in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley, and she is currently writing a book about transnational security regimes, environmental knowledge, and the afterlives of empire in the West African Sahel.

Alex Thurston is Assistant Professor Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of three books, most recently Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel: Local Politics and Rebel Groups, published by Cambridge University Press in 2020.


Andom Ghebreghiorgis is a former special education teacher who recently ran for Congress in NY’s 16th District. He is active with the Eritrean justice organization One Day Seyoum and is a member of Lower Hudson Valley DSA and the DSA International Committee.

This event is co-sponsored by Africa Is A Country, the DSA International CommitteeDSA Muslims, and Haymarket Books. While all of our events are freely available, we ask that those who are able make a solidarity donation in support of our important publishing and programming work.