Conflict in Mali
Malian Gov't faces Tuareg Rebels
The murder and removal from power of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi had unintended repercussions throughout Northern Africa. Neighboring countries, in particular Mali and Niger, were inundated with swarms of militant individuals returning home after failing to serve Gaddafi. In other words, ”his downfall precipitated tbe return to the Sahel (Niger and Mali) of thousands of angry, disillusioned and well-armed fighters who had gone to seek their metaphorical fortunes by serving the Gathafi regime” (Keenan 13). This only added to the tension in Mali and ultimately prompted the Taureg group to come together and fight back. After a Taureg rebellion in the beginning of 2012, a group of Islamic extremists have been in control of an area of the country called Azawad.”For several months, the international media have been referring to northern Mali as ‘Africa's Afghanistan’” (Kennan 13) as the Taureg rebels are still inciting violent protests against the strict Islamic laws enforced by the government. This conflict has caught the attention of the international community, but only France has begun to offer military intervention.
In the short term, the conflict in Mali has created a humanitarian crisis and displaced or killed thousands of Malians (Formanek). In the long term, the conflict in Mali has created a fault line of instability in West Africa that threatens to cause aftershocks in other nations within the region. It is significant that students understand the issue, for it is key in this interconnected world to remain current on on-going international conflicts. Mali is also an intriguing analysis of the nature of Islamist extremism in Africa, and an example to the next generation of how such insurgencies have been successfully quelled in the past.
Timeline of Activity
Following Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s fall, Tuareg separatists return to Mali and, with the Islamist rebels, begin a quest to seize Mali’s north. The violence, combined with a severe drought, sends around 200,000 people into Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso.
March 22, 2012:
Military officers, angered by setbacks in fight in fight with Tuareg rebels in north, overthrow the democratically elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure.
April 1, 2012:
Rebels close to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM take control of Mali’s ancient city of Timbuktu, drive Tuareg separatists into the desert. Then, the Islamist militants demolish tombs inside the city’s oldest mosque.
April 7, 2012:
After a two-week blockade imposed by West African neighbors, coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, a US -trained junior officer, agrees to hand power to a civilian government.
April 12, 2012:
Diouncounda Traore, former president of the National Assembly, is sworn in as interim president.
May 21, 2012:
President Traore suffers minor head injuries when protesters storm his palace to demand his resignation.
Al Qaeda-backed Islamist militants take control of Gao, after wrestling control of north from Tuareg separatists.
Sept. 11, 2012:
Islamic rebels with AQIM are linked to attacks on US consulate sites in Libya that kill the US ambassador there and three other Americans.
Dec. 11, 2012:
Malian soldiers march into the prime minister’s house and force his televised resignation. President Traore appoints Django Cissoko, a university professor and presidential aide, to succeed Cheick Modibo Diarra, who was prime minister since August
Dec. 20, 2012:
UN Security Council authorizes the deployment of an African-led military force to aid the defeat of al Qaeda and other Islamist militants in northern Mali
. Jan 11, 2013:
French President Francois Hollande announces French military intervention to stop adavances by the rebels.
Jan 14, 2013:
Islamist rebels take control of the town of Diabaly.
Jan 22, 2013:
French troops drive a campaign to help a weak Malian army regain control of towns from rebel hands, including Timbuktu and Gao.