Par Aurélie Campana
Centre FrancoPaix en résolution des conflits et missions de paix | Rapport du projet Stabiliser le Mali
Since 2015, Mali has been marked by growing instability. The multiplication of terrorist attacks, claimed by increasingly active jihadist groups, clearly illustrates an observable trend of security degradation through the 2016-17 period. While jihadists were heavily targeted by Franco-Malian security operations since 2013, we must ask, how do we explain these groups’ resilience? This report demonstrates that the destabilization to which Mali falls prey is not only explained by the activities of jihadist groups, even if they play a leading role. The forms of violence that punctuate the Malian con ict are underpinned by various intersecting logics that express local power struggles, intra and inter-communal con ict, and tribal and clan-oriented discord, each combined against the backdrop of an increasingly withdrawn Malian state apparatus. Jihadist groups thus emerge as essential actors within Mali’s ‘armed politics’, in so much as they are simultaneously inserted into and bene t from these dynamics. Beyond their high degree of fragmentation, jihadist groups in Mali are characterized by organizational uidity which allows them to reorganize and to adapt their operational strategies when needed. These strategies are founded on the use of violence and acts of terrorism. They equally include attempts to establish themselves as alternative modes of governance and to augment local recruitment, accomplished with signi cant success in several zones. In so doing, jihadist groups contribute to the accentuating crisis of legitimacy which plagues the Malian state over large parts of its territory.
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