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Achieving Peace in Northern Mali

Achieving Peace in Northern Mali: Past Agreements, Local Conflicts, and the Prospects for a Durable Settlement

Stephanie Pezard
Michael Shurkin
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
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  • Book Info
    Achieving Peace in Northern Mali
    Book Description:

    This report examines the prospects for stabilization in Mali following the political and military crisis that began in 2012. To this end, it examines Mali’s peace settlements since the early 1990s to identify flaws and successes. The report also explores whether Mali’s neighbor Niger owes its current stability to a more favorable context, shrewd policies, or sheer luck, and whether it might offer a model of resilience for Mali.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8845-1
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xviii)

    The French-led military intervention in Mali that began on January 11, 2013, has succeeded in scattering, and severely weakening, the Islamist groups that had seized control of the northern half of the country over the course of the previous year. The French campaign brought most of the region back under at least nominal Malian government control. However, it has not addressed any of the political and ethnic conflicts that generated the crisis, and these conflicts are already reasserting themselves. Clashes between the Malian army and the Tuareg group that started the rebellion in early 2012, the National Movement for the...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    In the aftermath of Mali’s annus horribilis of 2012 and its rescue by France in January 2013, Mali’s friends and partners are interested in ensuring that,thistime, peace and stability will endure. This interest is particularly keen given the newfound recognition that Mali’s terrorism problem—which is a key driver of U.S. and French involvement—cannot be addressed on a long-term basis without addressing Mali’s broader political and security challenges.

    The challenge of ensuring peace in northern Mali is daunting for a variety of reasons. First, it has been tried before. Since 1991, the year Mali returned to civilian...

  9. CHAPTER TWO A Brief History of Maliʹs Rebellions and the Implementation of Peace Accords
    (pp. 5-22)

    Mali’s previous peace accords represent a useful place to begin assessing the problems that stand in the way of the emergence of a durable peace today. Between 1960 and the present, Mali has experienced four rebellions (1963 to 1964, 1990 to 1996, 2006 to 2009, and 2012 to 2013) that gave rise to four different peace accords outlined in Table 2.1.

    The Ouagadougou Accord differs from the first three in the sense that, as it title states, it is a “preliminary” agreement whose focus is limited to short-term issues

    a cease-fire

    the preparation of the presidential election

    the return of...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Explaining the Failure of Past Peace Accords
    (pp. 23-44)

    For many northern Malians, the explanation for the failure of previous peace accords is simple: Bamako never followed through. A Malian Arab notable interviewed for this study described the problem in the following terms:

    Peace didn’t hold in the past because it’s like in a marriage. There will be problems, but, so long as they work at it, they’ll be fine. The problem is that, with Mali, one of the partners had no interest in making things work.¹

    Although there is much to be said for this argument, the reality has been far more complicated and merits more consideration. This...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Moving Forward
    (pp. 45-58)

    The preceding discussion of Mali’s problems and the failings of previous peace accords has highlighted several specific areas of concern. These include, above all, insecurity, the need for greater representativeness, and effective ways to bring local communities into the management of their own affairs. These three elements are all related because most sources consider representation and participation the key not only to crafting peace agreements in which a preponderance of northern Malians see their interests addressed but also to maintaining security. Northern Malian interviewees agree, for example, that northerners themselves, not the Malian state, the United Nations, or the French,...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Is There a Nigerien Model of Resilience?
    (pp. 59-88)

    Since 2012, as Mali was facing near state collapse, Niger has appeared relatively stable, sufficiently so to serve as a centerpiece of the U.S. and French defense posture in the Sahel. (For a map of Niger’s position in the region, see Figure 5.1.) Not only did Niger send troops to serve in the African-Led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), followed by MINUSMA; it also welcomed U.S. and French military forces on its territory to operate surveillance aircraft. As a result, Niger played a critical role in Operation Serval in Mali and now forms a pillar of both nations’ counterterrorism...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Conclusion
    (pp. 89-92)

    On balance, the accomplishments of the past peace accords in Mali have been thin. It would be an overstatement to conclude, however, that nothing has been achieved and that, in 2014, the situation stands as it did in 1990. Perhaps the biggest change since then is awareness: Northern interests, northern needs, and northern perspectives used to be unknown or ignored by the Malian government and the international community alike. Southerners, including some government officials, now devote more attention to northern matters. Second, an agreed-upon list of concerns (e.g., some autonomy and decentralization) now forms the framework for current and future...

  14. References
    (pp. 93-108)