Shifting Militia Allegiances and the Prospects for Ending the Small War in Northern Mali
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Northern Mali has been living in perpetual and unfulfilled postwar reconstruction phases due to repeated unsuccessful national reconciliations.
As contemporary North African societies continue to re-arrange themselves , one of the enduring dilemmas that continues to rise to the fore is what has been described as “the Tuareg question."
The provision of both financial and development programs in the northern territories of Mali is an effective way to deter vulnerable groups from adhering to AQ ideology.
Miller traces the history of conflict resolution and negotiation during the four Tuareg rebellions in Mali, focusing primarily on the role of ideology.
For COIN, a trinity of attributes is needed to complement traditional military acumen: analytical intelligence, openness of mind, and broad culture.
Writing at the al-Wasat blog, Andrew Lebovich described the unstable situation in Mali's north.
Less than two weeks after a group of Malian junior officers led a coup against the government of president Amadou Toumani Touré, Mali’s war in the north has fallen apart. In a three-day period that ended Monday, Tuareg rebels had seized the three major northern towns of Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, victories unparalleled in the past. ...
The rush to capitalize on the dissolution of Mali’s army in the north has brought to the fore deep conflicts between the MNLA and the salafist-inspired Ansar Al-Din, and brought two terrorist groups who call northern Mali home – Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its “splinter” group the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) out of the woodwork. ...
The situation in northern Mali remains fluid, and the MNLA may not have time for complicated machinations. Until today it had seemed increasingly possible that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would send a peacekeeping detachment to Mali, though the contours and rules around an eventual deployment were never clear. Reports indicate that ECOWAS and the Malian junta reached a deal for Captain Amadou Sanogo tostep aside in favor of an interim transitional government to be led by parliamentary speaker Diouncounda Traore. In return, ECOWAS will remove travel and trade sanctions put in place following the coup.
Regardless of what’s going on in the south, though, the north will likely remain unstable, and the MNLA must move quickly to reassert its position in northern Mali. If not, it may find itself shut out of the major power centers in the newly “liberated” Azawad, left to contend with an increasingly assertive and entrenched “desert fox.”