The Macina Liberation Front has opportunistically played on perceptions of ethnic, economic, religious, and political marginalization to become one of the most active militant Islamist groups in Mali.
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In this Africa Center roundtable, Somalia's National Security Advisor shares his vision for establishing a stable Somalia. Priority reforms include strengthening oversight of the security sector and improving security support to rural communities most vulnerable to Al Shabaab.
Mali faces multiple security challenges that demand both strengthened legitimacy and state capacity to address. Building on credible elections, stabilization will also require reconciliation and extending the presence of the state.
Somalia’s National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali talks about political will, security reforms in Somalia’s Transition Plan, and the commitment to domestic and international coalition building to sustain the country’s progress.
In an interview with the Africa Center, Simon Mulongo, deputy to the AU Commission in Mogadishu, says that AMISOM’s gains could never have been realized if it had continued to rely on the traditional peacekeeping template.
In-depth interviews with more than 100 youth in Northern Mali found that they join armed groups out of sense of duty or to gain respect, because they feel excluded and the government doesn’t support them, they have experienced abuse or corruption at the hands of the governments, or in hopes of joining the military. To build lasting security in the region, the Malian government, donors and NGOs should focus on violence prevention at the community level, rather than only on “at risk” youth. Improved service delivery, including mitigating the perception that security forces serve only segments of the population, and inclusive community-government decision-making would further improve local governance.
To develop effective strategies for AMISOM and future peacekeeping missions, “stabilization” and its political and military elements need better definition.
Non-state security providers (NSSPs) in Somalia, often entrenched in clan identity politics and the pursuit of profit, are ubiquitous. Their prevalence undermines efforts by the Somali government to provide legitimate governance and security. Yet they are often the only reliable source of protection and so are used by neighborhoods, businesses, international organizations, and even politicians.... Continue Reading
Fixing a Fractured State? Breaking the Cycles of Crime, Conflict and Corruption in Mali and the Sahel
Militants, terrorists, and clans have taken advantage of the weak governance in Mali and the Sahel to expand and entrench criminal networks. To properly respond to this trend the international community and Mali should institute a new conceptual framework. It will need a nuanced understanding of the actors involved and their basis in community legitimacy,... Continue Reading
A broad swath of Malians were surveyed to help uncover the source of the country’s governance and security crisis experienced in 2012. A key takeaway was that the current system of political interaction is dysfunctional. To promote an integrated peace and development agenda, institutional reform must involve more diverse local actors, particularly women and young... Continue Reading
The introduction of the cocaine trade in northern Mali in the early 2000s scrambled the region’s loose, informal power dynamics. Militias became more numerous and many state institutions were soon corrupted. This illicit economy eventually contributed to the collapse of the state in 2012 and even continued during a brief occupation by Islamist militias and... Continue Reading
Mali’s reputation as a relatively stable democracy was upended by a military coup launched by junior officers in March 2012, raising questions about the strength of Mali’s democratic system. In actuality, the previous regime had centralized authority and harassed some journalists while a culture of corruption and institutional sclerosis had flourished in the military, judiciary,... Continue Reading