Créée en février 2017, la Force conjointe du G5 Sahel est une force de nouvelle génération dans un espace sahélien où se bousculent des initiatives militaires et diplomatiques parfois concurrentes. Il ne suffira pas de fournir des armes et de l’argent pour résoudre les crises sahéliennes. Pour atteindre ses objectifs, la force doit gagner la confiance des populations et des puissances régionales et obtenir leur soutien.
Signatories of 2015 peace deal struggled to implement its major provisions, as attacks on national and international forces continued in north and centre. Governor of Ménaka region in east 3 Dec confirmed that army and National Guard had late Nov begun joint patrols to secure Ménaka town with support from members of armed group Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), splinter from rebel Coalition of Azawad Movements (CMA), and members of Self-Defence Group of Imrad Tuareg and Allies (GATIA), member of pro-national unity Platform coalition. Coalition of splinter armed groups (CME) 4 Dec demanded to be included in peace deal monitoring bodies, and threatened to block deal’s implementation by “all means” if rejected. Attacks continued on national and international forces and civilians. Unidentified assailants ambushed National Guard convoy on Douentza-Gao road, Mopti region 3 Dec injuring two soldiers; abducted and killed five telecoms workers in Dianke, Timbuktu region 8 Dec; ambushed convoy of deputy prefect of Nara in Koulikoro region 9 Dec, wounding five soldiers and one civilian; attacked convoy of local leader in Timbuktu region 10 Dec killing at least six. UN peacekeepers 15 Dec repelled four simultaneous attacks on their positions in Kidal town; one peacekeeper wounded. At summit on joint force of G5 Sahel countries (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania) in Paris 13 Dec, Saudi Arabia pledged $100mn and United Arab Emirates $30mn toward force. Following clashes late Nov between Malian and Guinean artisanal gold miners over mining site in border area, officials from both countries met in Kankan, Guinea 4-5 Dec and worked toward border demarcation. After PM Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga resigned with his govt 29 Dec, President Keita next day named former Defence Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maïga new PM and appointed new govt.
Settling the place of Islam in Mali’s society and politics is a less visible but longer-term challenge to the state than its rebellious north and stalled peace process. The government should work toward a partnership with religious authorities to enable them to play a stabilising role.
Violence is escalating in Central Mali, often neglected as the world focuses on problems in the country’s north. Radical groups and criminal gangs are exploiting years of short-sighted security policies that have lost the state much of its legitimacy. The government needs to recognise that state authority also rests on public services and dialogue with its people.
Hesitant steps toward peace in Mali have been helped by the recent pacts signed in Anefis by pro-government armed groups and by rebel representatives. While not sufficient or without risks, they are rooted in local initiatives and tackle issues left out of June’s Bamako accord. This offers a serious opportunity to put the peace process back on track.
The Sahel’s trajectory is worrying; poverty and population growth, combined with growing jihadi extremism, contraband and human trafficking constitute the perfect storm of actual and potential instability. Without holistic, sustained efforts against entrenched criminal networks, misrule and underdevelopment, radicalisation and migration are likely to spread and exacerbate.
Fighting recently resumed in Mali, while a peace accord remains a façade. Both sides, with help from international mediators, need to re-open negotiations. They must go beyond prioritising security to include all belligerents and improve access to basic social services, jobs and justice.
Are we building any kind of sustainable peace [in Mali] through this kind of process that gives the most resources to the guys with guns?
"We're again, as we've been several times since 2013, at a defining moment [in the fight against jihadist groups in northern Mali]. On the political side things have improved, but it is very worrying security-wise.
Les populations du centre [du Mali] ont vu dans l'accès aux armes de guerre un moyen de se protéger et parfois de contester les hiérarchies en place.
Despite the training provided by the European Union since 2013, the [Malian] army lacks capacity until today. We’re talking about a long-term undertaking.
Las partes se niegan a deponer las armas antes de saber quién va a gobernar localmente, cuál será su destino y qué posiciones serán para la Plataforma y cuáles para el CMA
Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.
With jihadists and armed groups exploiting political and security vacuums across the Sahel, Mali and neighbouring states will continue to face insecurity. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to rethink international development strategies and to support local government initiatives that combat radicalisation.
Jihadist groups have regrouped in the neglected hinterlands of Sahel countries and are launching attacks from them. To regain control of outlying districts, regional states must do far more to extend services and representation beyond recently recaptured provincial centres.
Originally published in Le Monde