[Diplomacy] Mali Crisis, Taureg rebels, French Troops, Algeria Hostages: Background, implications explained

Mali Crisis French offensive map

[Diplomacy] Mali Crisis, Taureg rebels, French Troops, Algeria Hostages: Background, implications explained

  1. What is Mali?
  2. Players in Mali crisis?
  3. Who are the Tuareg?
  4. Gaddafi Angle: 2011
  5. Azawad: Jan-April 2012
  6. Mali President overthrown: March 2012
  7. Entry of French Troops: Jan 2013
  8. Back to Northern Mali
  9. What is AQIM?
  10. Implications of Mali Crisis?
  11. Algeria Hostage Crisis
  12. Mock Questions

What is Mali?

Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, Earlier it was a French colony. Mali gained independence in 1960.
Players in this crisis?

Faction Teams What do they want?
Rebels Islamist
  1. Ansar Dine
They want to impose Islamic law across Mali
  1. AQIM
Same. They earn ca$h by kidnapping westerners and drug-traffic. They’re the ‘richest’ among all rebels.
“Secular” Tuaregs
  1. MNLA
Earlier they wanted to create a separate nation for Tureg people, but now they just want autonomy.
  1. Mali Government
–doesn’t have enough firepower to match rebels.
  1. French Government
Sent troops because it Mali’s official army is ill-equipped to fight the rebels.

Who are the Tuareg?

  • Nomadic people who live in Sahara and Sahel regions of Libya, Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
  • In medieval times, they used to run Camel caravans across Sahara- trading gold, spices, salts and dates.
  • Sometimes called the Blue People because they mostly wear dark blue / indigo colored traditional garments.

What is their problem?

  • We reside in Northen Mali.
  • While capital city = Bambako = located in South.
  • Government sits there and does nothing for our development.
  • We’re “light skinned”. And all good positions in Government and bureaucracy  manned by black people.
  • We are not getting any jobs, education etc.
  • Villages getting displaced due to mining activities, and the subsequent land-degradation =bad for our farms, cattle.

So Tuareg people had been rebelling against the “South” since a long time.

Gaddafi Angle: 2011

  • Colonel Gaddafi (of Libya) had been hiring Tuareg tribesmen in his army.
  • 2011=Uprising in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi gets killed.
  • So these Tuareg tribesmen (from Libyan army) formed their own new rebel group called “MNLA”.
  • They took possession of powerful weapons, surface-to-air missiles etc. from Gaddafi’s fallen army and decided to come back home.
  • They came back home (Northern Mali) and started fighting against the Mali Government. (+Other Islamic militants were also active in the region so they got help.)

Azawad: Jan-April 2012

  • From January 2012 onwards, there is heavy fighting between rebels and Mali army, in the Northern areas of Mali.
  • But the army did not have powerful weapons. so They had to flee.
  • Thus MNLA rebels took control of Northern Areas of Mali and declared it a free country called “Azawad.” (in April 2012)
  • However, this Azawad country has not been recognized by UN or any powerful country (US/China etc.)

Mali Crisis: President overthrown, March 2012

So far you know that

  • Tuareg people = unhappy.
  • Some of them served in Libyan army but came back home after death of Gaddafi. (+brought heavy weapons.)
  • These rebels fought against Mali army and threw them out of Northern Mali.
  • So, now Mali army= unhappy.
  • Army blamed President Toure for this fiasco.
  • Why? Because USA was giving truckload of ca$h to President of Mali to fight off the Islamist terror groups.
  • But this President was just using that money for his personal “aiyyaashi” (=buying sports cars, Rolex watches, diamond studded i-phone1,2,3,4,5, consuming desi liquor and… you get the picture.)
  • That’s why Mali army did not have good weapons, tanks, gadgets to fight with the rebels..
  • One army officer named Captain Sanogo gathered the soldiers and staged a coup against this President and threw him out. (Although later this Captain handed over power to next President Traoré.)
  • So right now Mali army is divided into factions – one of them supports the old ousted President Toure and wants to bring him back in power.

Entry of French Troops: Jan 2013

  • While all this mess was going on, the extremists groups from Northern Mali, started capturing the areas in Central Mali region. (such as Timbuktu)
  • New President panicked and called up French President:
New President of Mali please help us. Our army is ill-equipped, divided into factions.
We’ve neither the weapons nor the morale to fight these rebels. So come help us.
French President Francois Hollande I cannot allow a “terrorist state” to emerge in Mali.
Ungoverned spaces in Mali could provide a launch-pad for Jihadist attacks in Europe and elsewhere.
But USA, UN or African Union are doing nothing!
So I’ll send my own French army to fight against these terror groups.
AQIM (Extremist group) @French President, buddy you’re making a grave mistake.
Now we will retaliate by striking back at the heart of France (Paris). You just wait and watch.

Mali Crisis French offensive map

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