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Homepage > Publication Type > Media Releases > Mali: The Need for Determined and Coordinated International Action

Mali: The Need for Determined and Coordinated International Action

Dakar/Brussels  |   24 Sep 2012

Concerted effort by national, regional and international actors at a special Sahel meeting on 26 September, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, is urgently needed to stop Mali from descending further into chaos.  

Mali: The Need for Determined and Coordinated International Action, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, raises alarm over the deteriorating political, security, economic and social situation in the country, stemming from the power vacuum following the military coup. To prevent further disintegration of the state and the spread of violence and extremism to the neighbouring area, swift and concerted action must be taken at national, regional and international levels.

“All scenarios are still possible, including another military coup and social unrest in the capital, which risk undermining the transitional institutions and creating an even more explosive situation”, says Gilles Yabi, Crisis Group’s West Africa Project Director.

Six months on from a military coup in March, none of the pillars of the Malian state has been able to give a clear direction to the political transition. The announcement on 23 September of a hard-won agreement between Mali and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the conditions for deployment of a West African force is promising, but over the last few months the regional organisation has shown serious limitations, which now require it to work more closely with the African Union and the UN.

The use of force may well be necessary at one point to neutralise some of the armed groups involved in transnational crime activities combining terrorism, jihadism and drug trafficking.  However, any military intervention should be preceded by political and diplomatic efforts aimed at isolating questions regarding intercommunal tensions within Malian society from those concerning collective security of the Sahel-Sahara region. Further, minimal and lasting security cannot be reestablished in northern Mali without the clear participation of the Algerian political and military authorities and other North African countries from where armed groups get their supplies, including sophisticated weapons.

The country’s political institutions and armed forces remain unstable. Under the auspices of the UN, African Union and the ECOWAS, a mission to facilitate reconciliation within the Malian army needs to be undertaken to prevent another coup with unpredictable consequences. The three organisations must work closely together and harmonise their initiatives, to guarantee security and stability in the south to allow space for the resolution of the conflict in the north.

The international community must stand by Mali, and help the transitional government confront the economic and social crisis, and produce a credible roadmap for the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity and rule of law.

“The following six months will be crucial for the stability of Mali, the Sahel and the entire West African region”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. “The country urgently needs to mobilise the best Malian expertise irrespective of political allegiance rather than engaging in power plays that will lead the country to the verge of collapse”.  

Concerted effort by national, regional and international actors at a special Sahel meeting on 26 September, on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, is urgently needed to stop Mali from descending further into chaos.  

Mali: The Need for Determined and Coordinated International Action, the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, raises alarm over the deteriorating political, security, economic and social situation in the country, stemming from the power vacuum following the military coup. To prevent further disintegration of the state and the spread of violence and extremism to the neighbouring area, swift and concerted action must be taken at national, regional and international levels.

“All scenarios are still possible, including another military coup and social unrest in the capital, which risk undermining the transitional institutions and creating an even more explosive situation”, says Gilles Yabi, Crisis Group’s West Africa Project Director.

Six months on from a military coup in March, none of the pillars of the Malian state has been able to give a clear direction to the political transition. The announcement on 23 September of a hard-won agreement between Mali and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the conditions for deployment of a West African force is promising, but over the last few months the regional organisation has shown serious limitations, which now require it to work more closely with the African Union and the UN.

The use of force may well be necessary at one point to neutralise some of the armed groups involved in transnational crime activities combining terrorism, jihadism and drug trafficking.  However, any military intervention should be preceded by political and diplomatic efforts aimed at isolating questions regarding intercommunal tensions within Malian society from those concerning collective security of the Sahel-Sahara region. Further, minimal and lasting security cannot be reestablished in northern Mali without the clear participation of the Algerian political and military authorities and other North African countries from where armed groups get their supplies, including sophisticated weapons.

The country’s political institutions and armed forces remain unstable. Under the auspices of the UN, African Union and the ECOWAS, a mission to facilitate reconciliation within the Malian army needs to be undertaken to prevent another coup with unpredictable consequences. The three organisations must work closely together and harmonise their initiatives, to guarantee security and stability in the south to allow space for the resolution of the conflict in the north.

The international community must stand by Mali, and help the transitional government confront the economic and social crisis, and produce a credible roadmap for the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity and rule of law.

“The following six months will be crucial for the stability of Mali, the Sahel and the entire West African region”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. “The country urgently needs to mobilise the best Malian expertise irrespective of political allegiance rather than engaging in power plays that will lead the country to the verge of collapse”.  

 
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