Alliances of convenience: assessing the dynamics of the Malian insurgency


Par Adib Benchérif & Aurélie Campana
Mediterranean Politics

This article analyses the precarious alliances concluded between insurgent groups in the context of the conflict in Northern Mali that began in 2012. Building on the literature on civil wars and social movements, it develops a mechanism-based approach that intends to shed light on the processes of alliance formation and disintegration that are taking place at the meso- and micro-levels of analysis. It shows that the solidity and durability of alliances in a civil war context strongly depend on the interplay of three intra-organizational and inter-organizational mechanisms (brokerage, competition and shifting alliance), which contribute to the shaping of complex local power games. While ideological compatibility facilitates alignment and organizational collaboration, alliances are first and foremost cemented or fissured through the changing short- and mid-term personal interests of a variety of actors, who try to adapt to a volatile context.

1er novembre 2016