Mali: Avoiding Escalation
International Crisis Group
18 July 2012
In a little more than two months, Mali’s political regime has been demolished. An armed rebellion launched on 17 January 2012 expelled the army from the north while a coup deposed President Amadou Toumani Touré (ATT) on 22 March. These two episodes ushered Mali into an unprecedented crisis that also threatens regional political stability and security. An external armed intervention would nevertheless involve considerable risks. The international community must support dialogue between the armed and unarmed actors in the north and south to favour a political solution to the crisis. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must readjust its mediation efforts to avoid aggravating the already deep fault lines in Malian society. Strengthening the credibility of the transitional institutions to restore the state and the security forces is an absolute priority. Finally, coordinated regional security measures must be taken to prevent originally foreign groups from turning northern Mali into a new front in the war on terror.
It would be wise to ignore calls for war and continue with existing initiatives to promote a political settlement of the conflict without, however, neglecting security issues. (…)
This series of events in Mali is the result of a weak political system despite democratic practices, disillusion from the lack of economic and social development in the north and south, government laxity in state management and the unprecedented external shock of the Libyan crisis. (…)
This report provides a greater in depth analysis of the current and unraveling situation in Mali as well as a series of recommendations for the actors involved in the resolution to the crisis in Mali, including national, regional and international actors.
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Read full report. (Available only in French)