The Tuareg rebellion of January 2012, the precipitous withdrawal of the Malian army and authorities from the northern part of the country, followed by the overthrow of Amadou Toumani Touré’s (ATT) government in March 2012 have plunged Mali into a deep crisis that took the world by surprise. How could this country, which had long been presented as an example of democracy and peace in West Africa, find itself mired in a succession of rebellions and political crises against a backdrop of general insecurity and international jihadism? Although Mali is known for its culture of consensus, the modern Malian state, stemming from the collapse of the Mali Federation itself, faced the risk of partition more than once. While ECOWAS rapidly reacted to Captain Sanogo’s coup by strongly condemning the armed seizure of power and calling on all Community members to respond quickly and in a coordinated manner, the international community withdrew into a state of wait and see, embarrassment and questioning for almost a year, until the launch of operation Serval in January 2013. However, the harbingers of the crisis were already present and many of them were already known, even though their depth and destabilising potential had not been thoroughly measured. This study therefore focuses on “former” Mali, on “the golden years” – as they are sometimes called –, during which political, social, economic and regional dynamics consolidated in the shadows, awaiting the ideal alignment of circumstances to lead to an implosion.

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Research line: Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa

Source photo: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid on Flickr

Security & Strategy 151

La crise malienne de 2012 :
chronique d’une catastrophe annoncée