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The Sahel: Mali’s Crumbling Peace Process and the Spreading Jihadist Threat
The Sahel: Mali’s Crumbling Peace Process and the Spreading Jihadist Threat
Tombs in a Muslim cemetery are silhouetted during sunset in the village of Karateren near the Aral Sea, in southwestern Kazakhstan, April 2005. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
Briefing 72 / Europe & Central Asia

叙利亚在呼唤:中亚的激进化

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概述

越来越多的中亚公民正赶赴中东参与战斗或以其他形式支持伊斯兰国,其中男女均有。部分由于政治边缘化和后苏联时代地区常有的经济萧条,在过去三年里有两到四千人抛弃了他们的世俗国家,转而投向激进团体。伊斯兰国不仅吸引那些寻求战斗经历的人,也吸引了那些追求更加虔诚、有目标、原教旨主义宗教生活的人。中亚各国政府因此面临一个复杂的问题。他们意欲利用这个现象来打击异议。但是更有效的解决之道应包括修正政治与行政上的多重失败,修改歧视性法律与政策,实施社区服务项目计划,为劣势群体青年创造国内就业机会,及提高安全部门之间的协调。

如果这些激进化的移民中有相当数量回到中亚,将会影响整个地区的安全与稳定。这个脆弱的地区由哈萨克斯坦、吉尔吉斯斯坦、塔吉克斯坦、土库曼斯坦和乌兹别克斯坦组成,夹在俄罗斯与阿富汗、伊朗和中国之间。每个国家都受困于低下的执政能力、腐败和犯罪。乌兹别克斯坦和土库曼斯坦类似于威权主义警察国家。哈萨克斯坦有一些财富,但国家破损严重,且是独裁的政治体制。五国均无法提供有质量的社会服务,农村地区尤其如此。他们的安全部队资金不足、训练水平低下且倾向于用粗暴的手段来弥补资源与技术上的不足,因此没有能力应对激进伊斯兰这样复杂的挑战。五国本应在促进宗教自由的同时维护世俗宪法,并且学习欧洲或亚洲国家将圣战分子去激进化的经验,但他们通过法律限制宗教发展,并利用警察进行打击,反而进一步推动了激进化。

该地区各处的清真寺和祈祷室都成为了为极端事业进行招募的场所。互联网和社交媒体起到了关键但不是决定性的作用。女性走向激进化通常是由于她们在中亚地区缺乏社会、宗教、经济和政治机会。伊斯兰国控制领土的吸引力并不是经济回报。对一些人来说,这是一次个人冒险;对其他人来说,这是战斗号召。许多人实际的角色是为来自高加索或阿拉伯国家的更有经验的战士提供支持服务。

乌兹别克族人,包括乌兹别克公民,在伊斯兰国的中亚人中数量最大,但吉尔吉斯人、哈萨克人、土库曼人和塔吉克人也为数不少。有一些是从国内招募的;其他则是在国外变得激进的,通常是移民工人。这个问题在吉尔吉斯斯坦南部尤为严重,自从2012年奥什市的暴力事件导致乌兹别克人社区的异化后,风险就被放大了。

该地区民众对政治和社会变革的渴望未能得到满足,圣战主义思想也因此获得了土壤。伊斯兰国的支持者中贫富各异、教育程度各异、年龄各异、男女皆有,但他们的重要共同点是对社会和政治环境的失望。乌兹别克斯坦问题尤为严重。虽然在这里乌兹别克斯坦伊斯兰运动或阿富汗塔利班早就存在,但那些原本并未考虑加入这些组织的人,却因深感压抑与被排挤而认同伊斯兰国是一个新颖的神命的政治秩序。

通过伊斯兰国接受战斗训练并逐步晋升入指挥层的中亚人的数量不断上升,他们所参与的圣战主义网络也在不断壮大。虽然大部分中亚人都被大概根据种族和语言分成不同的小组,但这些小组又联合形成了更大的地区部队,包括了来自前苏联、阿富汗、巴基斯坦和中国新疆地区互相协作的战士。这些网络很有可能在中亚加速发展并且形成自身目标,而本来就缺乏能力应对此类安全威胁的中亚各国政府对此毫无准备。

俄罗斯和中国已经表达了忧虑,敦促中亚各国政府解决伊斯兰国崛起而带来的激进化问题。这个地区的其他国际合作伙伴,包括欧盟和美国,应该认识到有越来越多的中亚人正加入伊斯兰国。在对中亚国家就解决这一问题的建议中,应优先考虑执法改革,以及对宗教采取更宽容的态度。但是如果中亚国家之间缺乏协调,包括安全部队之间的情报分享,地区外国家所希冀的应对措施很可能失败。

比什凯克/布鲁塞尔, 2015年1月20日

Commentary / Africa

The Sahel: Mali’s Crumbling Peace Process and the Spreading Jihadist Threat

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.

 

This commentary is part of our annual early-warning report Watch List 2017.

Despite significant international sweat, the Sahel remains on a trajectory toward greater violence and widening instability. Jihadists, armed groups and entrenched criminal networks – sometimes linked to national and local authorities – continue to expand and threaten the stability of already weak states. Across the region, citizens remain deeply disenchanted with their governments. International actors must review their current strategies, which tackle the symptoms of the Sahel’s problems without addressing their underlying cause: central governments’ long-term neglect of their states. In particular, they should act urgently to prevent the collapse of the peace process in Mali – a genuine danger this year that would have serious implications for security across the Sahel.

Widening Cracks in Mali’s Peace Process

At the heart of the Sahel’s instability is Mali’s long-running crisis. It is spilling over into Burkina Faso and spreading to fragile Niger and more stable Senegal. Twenty months since the government and armed groups signed the Algeria-brokered Bamako peace agreement in June 2015, implementation is faltering and the deal’s collapse is a real possibility. Despite publicly claiming to support the process, Malian parties lack confidence in a deal that was signed under international pressure and has serious shortcomings. It does little to tackle the violent war economy in which prominent businessmen rely on small private armies to protect trafficking routes. It also fails to restore a viable balance of power between northern communities and leaders who compete for resources, influence and territory.

Map of Sahel. International Crisis Group

The recent fracturing of the main rebel coalition, the Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA), has seen the creation of new community-based armed groups, such as the Mouvement pour le Salut de l’Azawad and the Congrès pour la Justice dans l’Azawad, and may further aggravate insecurity. More worryingly, the appointment of interim local authorities and the launch of mixed patrols comprising army soldiers and former rebels in the north have failed to demonstrate much positive impact at the local level.

Meanwhile, jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Eddine and al-Mourabitoun, remain active. Having been chased out of major towns, rather than trying to hold urban areas they are striking provincial and district centres from rural bases. Al-Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for the bombing on 18 January that killed 61 personnel of the mixed unit in Gao region.

Jihadists and other violent non-state groups are filling the security vacuum as the army retreats and local authorities and the central government abandon immense rural areas.

At the same time, insecurity is rising in areas long neglected by the state such as central Mali, which is not included in the northern Mali peace process. Jihadists and other violent non-state groups are filling the security vacuum as the army retreats and local authorities and the central government abandon immense rural areas. Bamako still has no effective response to the jihadists’ strategy of threatening or killing local authorities or civil society members that stand against them. In addition, the rise of a new group, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, and the possible influx from Libya of defeated Islamic State (IS) fighters are further sources of concern.

Jihad Sans Frontières

Despite international military intervention including by UN peacekeepers, jihadists are making inroads into other Sahelian countries. In late 2016, jihadist fighters based in central and northern Mali launched attacks in western Niger and northern Burkina Faso, underscoring the region’s vulnerability and the serious risks of overlapping conflicts across the greater Sahel. On 6 February, the G5 countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) met in Bamako to announce the creation of a regional force to tackle terrorism and transnational crime. It remains to be seen how effective this ambitious project will prove.

Mali’s neighbours are right to point out that Bamako is responsible for failing to prevent radical groups using its territory. However, they should also pay closer attention to their own internal dynamics. These include years of state neglect and poor political representation of certain communities – especially nomadic Fulanis in the region of Djibo in Burkina Faso and Tillabery in Niger. Chronic resource limitations hobble Sahelian states’ ability to respond effectively: Niger’s state revenue, for example, is €1.7 billion, about as much as France invested in stadiums to host the 2016 European football competition.

In 2016, Burkina Faso suffered eight attacks originating in Mali and it remains the most vulnerable of Mali’s neighbours. The ousting of former President Blaise Compaoré in 2014 left the security apparatus in disarray. National authorities have been slow to rebuild the intelligence system and they lack a defence strategy to help security forces adjust to rapidly evolving threats. Despite recurring attacks, military posts in the country’s northern Sahel region remain poorly protected. With limited resources the government will struggle to meet demands for significant social development, which partly drove the October 2014 uprising, and, at the same time, increase spending to revamp the security forces. Should Burkina be tempted to use the social welfare budget to plug security holes, it could face new protests.

Reviving the Malian Peace Process

International forces have been slow to adjust to changing ground realities and for now there is little appetite in Bamako or the region for a major course correction. However, further deterioration – such as jihadist groups expanding westwards into Ségou region in the centre – would require a response. The European Union (EU) and its member states should anticipate this and encourage Malian parties and the Algeria-led mediation team to meet again before the process loses all credibility. New talks would offer all parties an opportunity to express their concerns about the implementation of the Bamako agreement and reenergise it. They should agree on additional appendices that include a new timetable and mechanisms to ensure that each party respects its commitments. To limit the risk of further armed group fragmentation, discussions should also focus on ways to bring splinter groups into the process. This could mostly be done by integrating them into one of the existing coalitions, the CMA or Platform.

The focus should be as much on helping the state provide services to the population, including justice and security, as on economic projects or infrastructure.

To avoid the further spread of violence in Mali, the EU and its member states should encourage and support central government and local authorities to mediate local conflicts. They should also assist local authorities, through training and direct support, to provide public services and ensure the equitable sharing of natural resources. Such peacebuilding support should not be framed as preventing or countering “violent extremism” (P/CVE) as these concepts lack clarity, mask the complex dynamics of jihadist recruitment and risk stigmatising communities that receive such assistance.

Vital too is the need for a shift in international development strategies. The focus should be as much on helping the state provide services to the population, including justice and security, as on economic projects or infrastructure. The EU and member states should pay particular attention to assisting the state’s local-level redeployment through programs that support public services. They should encourage and assist the government to improve its draft “Plan for Central Mali” and make it a useful tool to coordinate government efforts.

They should also ensure that the EU’s capacity-building mission, EUCAP Mali, closely collaborates with authorities at both central and regional levels to make Mopti region in the centre a pilot site to test policies aimed at improving local security, and specifically reforming the local police. Lessons drawn from here could be applied in northern Mali and other Sahelian regions.

Halting Jihadists’ Cross-border Spread

The EU and its member states should pay more attention to Burkina Faso, which faces a real threat from armed groups. In particular, member states with a military presence in Mali should deploy forces near its border with Burkina Faso, and provide the Burkinabè security forces with helicopters so that they can conduct aerial surveillance of the long shared border. Although the link between underdevelopment and radicalisation is complex and indirect, increasing aid in health, education and professional training particularly in areas affected by attacks, could potentially improve relations between state authorities and communities and therefore undercut an important grievance that extremist groups often exploit.