Tunisia: US Withdrawal from Sahel to Shift Security, Migration Dynamics

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Diplomacy, Political, Security, Tunisia


Last week, the US announced plans to withdraw troops from both Niger and Chad as relations with two countries have deteriorated. The withdrawal will shift regional security dynamics across the Sahel with implication for both terrorism risk as well as irregular migration. 

The US has maintained bases and counterterrorism forces in both countries where they have focused on training and equipping local security forces and conducting operations against Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, and other terrorist organizations operating in the Sahel. 

The withdrawal from Niger involves the removal of approximately 1,000 military personnel and the closure of multiple drone bases. The withdrawal from Chad impacts approximately 100 US Special Forces personnel. 

The latest developments in US relations with Sahel countries come as Russia has made significant gains diplomatically in the region, securing agreements to provide training and military equipment to embattled and unstable governments. 


The growing pressure on the US across the Sahel points to an opening for both Russia and China to exert diplomatic, economic, and military influence on the region which has become increasingly unstable. 

Meanwhile, the withdrawal of the US will likely have a negative impact on the overall security situation in the region which will continue to drive irregular migrants toward North African sea departure points for Europe. 

With US drones and counterterrorism forces no longer creating pressure on terrorist organizations operating in the Sahel, those groups will have greater operational freedom and the ability to threaten local populations and governments. This will likely result in more individuals seeking to migrate northward. 

Greater operational freedom for terrorist organizations also risks more direct security impacts in Tunisia from terrorism should groups operating across the Sahel expand their ability to recruit, fund, and conduct operations in North African countries. 


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