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 FIVE
Is There a Nigerien Model of Resilience?

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 efforts in the region. The divergence of fates between Niger and Mali is especially puzzling because they share numerous factors of instability, from weak governance and pervasive poverty to a legacy of northern rebellions and military coups. Both countries were also exposed to similar external shocks when the Qadhafi regime collapsed in Libya, triggering the return of thousands of Nigeriens and Malians with little hope of being integrated into strained local economies.1 Some of these returnees brought back not only military experience gained in Qadhafi’s wars but also weapons looted from his arsenals. Still, Niger did not experience a renewed Tuareg rebellion like Mali did in 2011, and its military ostensibly remained under the control of civilian authorities.

This section explores three hypotheses that could explain why Niger remained stable while Mali was collapsing. The first one highlights structural factors and examines whether Niger was more solid

1 Although it is worth noting that Niger had more civilians return from Libya, whereas Mali had more ex-combatants (Sahel expert D, 2014).

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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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