Whilst the Pentagon might claim that the US military does not have an active, direct combat mission in Niger, the local Islamist probably disagree. 

Which is why the death of four American Special Forces soldiers in an ambush outside the village of Tongo is a portent of further military conflict in the Sahel.

The US and France both recognise that the Sahel is a security threat. The French have 4000 troops in the region and the Americans have deployed over 800.These troops are engaged in counter- terrorist operations and the  training of local forces.

Yet, the recent ambush by Islamists fighting for the Al- Qai’da affiliated Group for Support of Islam and Muslims highlights the connection between climate change and conflict.

Three terrorist groups were born in the Sahel during the 1990s and 2000s. An American military research centre in April 2007 described desertification as a ” threat incubator”. Deserts breed violence.

Perhaps, America and France could defeat the Islamist in the Sahel by conquering the desert first.