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

By Stephanie Pezard; Michael Shurkin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Introduction

I am persuaded that Mali can no longer be like before.

—Bellah community leader1

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, this time, 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 rule, the government has signed four peace accords with Tuareg and Arab armed groups. (See Figure 1.1 for a map of the region.) Second, in the mid-1990s, Mali began a major effort to decentralize and democratize the country by standing up numerous subnational administrations, run, in many cases, by elected officials. On paper at least, northern Malians have as much opportunity to participate in regional and national political processes as any other Malians have and thus cannot credibly claim to be disenfranchised. Northerners from many different communities, for example, ran in legislative elections and were elected to sit in the National Assembly in Bamako. Third, instability and insecurity have persisted, even though

1 Bellah leader, interview with Michael Shurkin, Bamako, October 8, 2013.

-1-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Summary ix
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Abbreviations xxi
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - A Brief History of Mali’s Rebellions and the Implementation of Peace Accords 5
  • Chapter Three - Explaining the Failure of Past Peace Accords 23
  • Chapter Four - Moving Forward 45
  • Chapter Five - Is There a Nigerien Model of Resilience? 59
  • Chapter Six - Conclusion 89
  • References 93
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