Here are a few articles on the ongoing turmoil in Mali. Haven’t noticed much, but perhaps that is because I haven’t been watching closely.
3/3/17 – France 24 – Three jihadi groups active in Mali announce merger – The three groups that have merged include:
- Ansar Dine
- Macina Brigades
The new name will be Group to Support Islam and Muslims.
These groups are aligned with Al Qaeda, which is separate from Islamic State.
3/13/17 – Long War Journal – Analysis: AL Qaeda groups reorganize in West Africa – Article says this is a merger of four groups:
- Ansar Dine
- Al Murabitoun
- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
- Macina Liberation Front, which article says is a part of Ansar Dine
Exact name is Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims. Yes, that is a slightly different name and reflects a fourth merger partner.
The new group will be led by the previous leader of Ansar Dine.
6/9/17 – Strategy Page – Mali: Europe Steps Up And Stays – The European Union extended its peacekeeping mandate for tumultuous Mali. EU is struggling to find enough troops to fulfill the mission.
Part of the trouble is peacekeepers were hit with 26 fatalities in 2016 which is 90% of peacekeeper fatalities for the year while the forces in Mali make up 15% of worldwide peacekeepers.
Article describes the depth of the ethnic and tribal conflicts in Mali.
The northern half of the country is dry (thus poorer) with 12% of the population, consisting predominantly of Muslims from light-skinned Arabic ethnic groups.
The southern half of the country is wet being fed by water from the Niger River (thus better off), with 88% of the population, consisting predominantly of non-Muslims from dark-skinned African tribes.
That is a formula for massive ongoing conflict even if radical jihadist Islam was not part of the equation.