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How the African Sahel could be affected by Tripoli's fall

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Yesterday, Libyan rebels entered the capital Tripoli (follow live updates here). With the fall of Col. Muammar Qaddafi seeming nearly complete, many are wondering what comes next for Libya and for the Arab world. Something I’m going to be thinking about (and writing more about) in the coming weeks is the impact of Qaddafi’s fall on the Sahel. Some Sahelian leaders, such as Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade and Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, have been siding with the rebels and anticipating Qaddafi’s ouster for some time. Others, such as Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, have endeavored to remain neutral. All of them, now, face a new political reality in the region. What will the absence of a once-powerful figure, who sometimes brokered peace and sometimes stoked conflict, mean for the countries that lie to Libya’s south?

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