Published on 18 February 2013

Northern Mali: The Sahel time-bomb explodes

Northern Mali: The Sahel time-bomb explodes

An attack by a group of Islamist extremists in Northern Mali cast a cruel light on the risk of destabilization facing the area and, beyond it, the entire Sahel region. Launched by France on Jan. 11, a military operation dubbed Serval quickly restored the status quo ante. And in rapidly wresting control of the regions exercised by three Islamist groups since April 2012 (Mujao, Ansar Dine and AQIM) the operation even kindled hope of restoring political stability in Bamako.

But the hard part is only beginning. Along with hoping to ensure long-term military security in Mali, the Malian authorities are groping uncertainly in a delicate transition period leading to the emergence of a new president. But if it wishes to achieve lasting stability Bamako must pacify the country by reconciling multiple communities among Mali's inhabitants - starting with the Tuaregs- that were torn apart for months by developments that the newsrooms of Indigo Publications (The Indian Ocean Newsletter, La Lettre du Continent, Africa Mining Intelligence, Africa Energy Intelligence, Maghreb Confidential and Intelligence Online) have put together in the present brief.

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FRANCE MALI 13/02/2013

DGSE's allies in Mali

The French Special Forces' ongoing intervention in Kidal, Mali, has been made easier by the DGSE's relationship with the Tuareg. [...] [...]

Spotlight MALI 06/02/2013

Paris stays at the helm

Despite the claim in French President Francois Hollande’s speech in Bamako on February 2 that France had "no material interests in Mali," Paris is keen to capitalise on its triumphant and well-received anti-jihadist intervention in the country. The French government [...] [...]

ALGERIA 31/01/2013

In Amenas a boost to U.S.-Algerian ties

The assault on the In Amenas gas site by Islamist fighters on Jan. 16 has prompted Washington to apply even [...] [...]

MALI FRANCE 30/01/2013

AQIM remains a threat

While is impossible to quantify jihadist losses in Mali or to know how many fighters are left, it is clear that AQIM is still operational. [...] [...]

Spotlight ALGERIA 24/01/2013

After In Amenas, the political fallout

The hostage crisis orchestrated at the In Amenas gas complex on Jan. 16 by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Sahel region’s chief of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) will have a sweeping impact on Algeria’s political scene. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, will not [...] [...]

FRANCE MALI 16/01/2013

Helios and Pleiades trained on Mali

The plans for France’s Operation Serval to retake northern Mali from Al Qaeda-linked groups were drawn up on the basis [...] [...]

MALI 15/01/2013

Business as usual for Bamako despite turmoil Free

With French warplanes moving this weekend to attack columns of Islamic fighters in the centre and north of Mali, Bamako [...] [...]

MALI 08/01/2013

ENI bows out of Taoudeni

Only three days after he was confirmed in his post as mines minister in a government shuffle, Amadou Baby Sy [...] [...]

FRANCE 28/11/2012

Paris plans operation against AQIM

Plans are being laid for an operation against jihadist groups in the Sahel, Intelligence Online can reveal. [...] [...]

ALGERIA 01/11/2012

N. Mali: Algiers jumps on band wagon

Francois Hollande, who is attempting to defuse tension before his official visit to Algiers on Dec. 5,has good reason to [...] [...]

MALI NIGERIA 17/10/2012

Insecurity business booms in Sahel

The proliferation of jihadist groups in the Sahel has spawned new opportunities for companies in the air surveillance business. [...] [...]

FRANCE MALI 17/10/2012

French drones head for Sahel

Harfang drones are to be positioned in Niger before the end of this year ready to support a probable African military intervention in northern Mali. [...] [...]

Spotlight MALI 10/10/2012

ECOWAS' improbable northern Mali plans

Western military views on ECOWAS’s plans to retake northern Mali range from dubious to severely critical. "For the moment, it is a piece-meal plan that has been cobbled together in a makeshift way," a high-ranking French officer told West Africa [...] [...]

ALGERIA 04/10/2012

Algiers alone in north Mali desert

In championing the idea of "global negotiations" to settle the North Mali crisis, Algeria could find itself totally isolated on [...] [...]

MALI 26/09/2012

MNLA on the offensive

Chased out of its fiefdom by AQIM and MUJAO, the MNLA Tuareg rebel movement is itching to take back its positions in northern Mali. [...] [...]

EUROPE 19/09/2012

CAE aircraft monitor Mali for Paris

Europe's military are increasingly turning to private operators such as CAE Aviation to carry out airborne monitoring missions in sensitive zones. [...] [...]

ALGERIA 12/07/2012

Algier’s game in Mali seen as too subtle

Algeria is making a distinction in North Mali between Ansar Eddine, AQMI and MUJAO. It views the Ansar Eddine group [...] [...]

MALI 13/06/2012

Politicians do disappearing act

Traumatised by the series of crises that have hit the country since January, Mali’s politicians are struggling to take charge of the situation. [...] [...]

MALI 30/05/2012

Traore leaves power vacuum

With an army unsure that it wants to give up power, a prime minister who is out of his depth and an interim president hospitalised in France, Mali’s political future is far from clear. [...] [...]

MALI 16/05/2012

Compaore oversteps Malian mark

The cascade of crises in Mali triggered by the March 22 coup d’etat has seriously tested the Economic Community of [...] [...]

MALI 08/05/2012

The tough tasks facing mines minister Toure

Appointed minister for trade, mines and industry in Cheick Mobido Diarra’s transitional government, Ahmadou Toure is under extreme pressure to [...] [...]

Spotlight MALI 28/03/2012

Bamako’s race against the clock

Until his downfall in the early hours of March 22, Amadou Toumani Toure - ATT - had been in denial: denial that threats were weighing on his country; denial that his regime was so fragile that it would fall like [...] [...]

Spotlight ALGERIA 01/03/2012

Reverting to mediator role in North Mali

Algeria has abruptly changed tack in Mali. In December, Algiers finally got around to sending military specialists to northern Mali to fight Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). But an outbreak of hostilities between Bamako’s regular army and independence-seeking rebels [...] [...]

Spotlight MALI 07/02/2012

Tuareg rebels from MNLA sit on uranium assets

It’s probably too early to speculate on the fate of the Movement National pour la Liberation de l’Azawad (MNLA) which is made up mainly of Tuareg rebels who took up arms against the Bamako government in northern Mali on January [...] [...]

MALI 18/01/2012

AQIM's unpaid ransom

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had promised to pay €15,000 to the individuals who kidnapped Frenchmen Philippe Verdon [...] [...]

Spotlight ALGERIA 12/01/2012

Bust-Up among AQIM chiefs

Some mystery surrounds the creation of a Mouvement pour l’Unicite et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO) which claimed the kidnapping of three Westerners in a Polisario camp near Tindouf in Algeria on Oct. 23. Maghreb Confidential has some [...] [...]

Spotlight MALI 14/12/2011

Paris pressures Bamako to deal with AQIM

Mali’s politically independent President Amadou Toumani Toure, known for his softly-softly approach, has not earned any plaudits for his weak response in dealing with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). However if Toure, who came to power in 2002, [...] [...]

Spotlight FRANCE MALI 07/12/2011

Hostage plot thickens for DGSE and DCRI

The kidnapping last month of two French geologists in Mali and the breakdown in negotiations with Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants who are holding four other French nationals has turned the hostage crisis into a spiralling drama. While the DGSE, France’s [...] [...]

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