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The Marginalized Tuareg Of Mali Essay

3273 words - 13 pages

The Tuareg people are a historically nomadic ethnic group who have populations throughout Mali, Algeria, Libya, Niger, and Burkina Faso. In the past year the Tuareg’s strides for a state of their own has attracted the notice of the international community, particularly their strides in Mali. This conflict has involved many players from the international community and does not seem to have an end in sight.
Unrest has plagued Mali for quite some time, this nation has had a series of coups and ousted leaders since freedom from the French in 1959. However, since 2002 Mali had, up until 2012, enjoyed a somewhat tenuous peace, during President Amadou Toure’s leadership. Despite major food shortages in 2005, a thriving cocaine trade, military operations against militants linked to al-Qaeda, and large amount of corruption, Mali seemed to be doing pretty well with its peaceful democratic elections and finding mineral wealth in its deserts. Many hailed Mali as the beacon of democracy in West Africa. However, in April of 2012, Tuareg rebels seized control of northern Mali and declared its independence. In May, the Islamist Ansar Dine rebel group joined with the Tuareg and declared northern Mali an Islamic state. However no other countries recognized their secession. As a result of the Tuareg rebellion, Junta leaders led a coup to overthrow President Amadou Toure, having already deposed the president after accusing him of failing to control the Tuareg rebellion, and put Captain Amadou Sanogo in charge. The mid-ranking army officer, known for his charisma, promised to defeat the rebels, but due to a lack of gun power, the coup actually allowed the allied rebels to tighten their grip on the north. The partnership between the Tuareg and the Ansar Dine did not last long, and by July of 2012 the Ansar Dine had turned on the Tuareg and ousted them from their holdings. By November 2012 the Islamists had captured the main northern cities of Timbuktu, Kidal, and Gao.
At that point in the crisis the north was controlled primarily by 6 different rebel groups each with slightly different agendas, though most containing at least in part or in entirety Tuareg members or agendas. The Ansar Dine are a home-grown Islamist movement led by the former Tuareg rebel leader Iyad Ag Ghaly who seek to impose Islamic law on the entire country and are in part comprised of Tuareg men who fought for Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan crisis. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is a primarily foreign manned organization, who have expressed the goal of freeing Malians from their French colonial legacy. Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) is a division of AQIM, who seek to spread the jihad across all of western Africa and have had a particularly violent tendency toward Tuaregs and have been known to work in collaboration with Ansar Dine. The Signed-in-Blood Battalion are the terrorist organization responsible for the January of 2013 siege of the Algerian gas facility...

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