Destabilization of Mali

Destabilization of Mali

Destabilization of Mali by militant groups with spillover effects on neighboring areas


Militant groups in Mali continue to assert territorial claims in the north, undermining the government and threatening to destabilize neighboring countries. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita entered office in September 2013, seventeen months after a military coup by the Malian army created a power vacuum allowing militant groups—such as Ansar Dine, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)—to gain territory in the north and begin to establish a separate Islamic state. Despite the French-led mission to combat the militants, some groups maintain control of northern areas while others have been driven across borders to areas outside of the mission’s mandate.

In support of the French-led mission in Mali, the United States established a drone base in neighboring Niger in March 2013 to provide intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance to France and other partners in the region. The United States has long supported economic and social development programs in Mali, but funding to the central government was cut off after the coup. Further destabilization of Mali could allow AQIM, an al-Qaeda affiliate, to establish a safe haven in Mali and destabilize the region through militancy and terrorism.

Please note that this contingency was not identified as one of the top thirty conflict prevention priorities included in the 2015 Preventive Priorities Survey, which was completed in November 2014. 

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