Dr. Benjamin Nickels is associate professor and academic chair for transnational threats and counterterrorism at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Washington DC. As an associate professor and academic chair for transnational threats and counterterrorism, Dr. Benjamin P. Nickels partners with African civil society and government leaders on security solutions that promote human rights, democratic values, and civil–military relations. He has worked with security professionals on the ground in 21 African countries and several European nations. Dr. Nickels’ research focuses on terrorism and counterterrorism, political violence, and human security in the Sahel, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa, as well as security cooperation in Africa and the role of U.S., European, and other international actors. He serves on the editorial board of the Marine Corps University Journal and as a contributor on Sahel and North African security for Sada, a journal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to joining the Africa Center, Dr. Nickels was faculty researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, where he analyzed the impacts of counterterrorism campaigns against Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, homegrown Islamist terrorism in the United Kingdom, and other threats. Fluent in French and familiar with Arabic, Dr. Nickels has lectured in French and English at government meetings, international forums, and leading academic institutions, such as Georgetown and Harvard. Dr. Nickels has received numerous academic awards, including a Fulbright scholarship to Morocco and a Chateaubriand fellowship in France. He holds a doctorate with distinction in history from the University of Chicago.
Attempts by the Macina Liberation Front to rally Fulani herdsmen to its cause should not lead to pastoralists in Western Africa being portrayed as terrorists.