With arms flows from Libya declining, military barracks and poorly controlled national stockpiles are being targeted.
Terror attacks on military outposts in the Liptako-Gourma area where Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet are increasingly ambitious and complex. Their frequency and the damage inflicted on defence and security forces is worrying, and raises questions about where the terror groups are sourcing their heavy weapons.
This graphic of the week lists the various international peacekeeping missions currently taking place in Mali and Somalia. To find out more about what political and operational challenges these peacekeeping missions face, see here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on defense policy, click here.
In discussions of Mali’s chronic problems, one factor tends to be overlooked: organized crime. Illicit activities have a long tradition in remote areas across the Sahel. Mali’s vast north, an area larger than France, is sparsely populated, and historically marginalized by the Malian state. Many people survive by smuggling items like subsidized food or cigarettes. Criminal rents are how people make a living in the marginalized north, but have also funded a myriad of armed groups and corruption networks. Efforts by international actors like the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), or by regional alliances like the G5 Sahel, increasingly recognize the threat organized crime poses to regional security, governance, and economic development. But why have their efforts fallen short?
Democracy’s resilience into the 21st century is rightly questioned. In 2017, a host of countries worldwide saw threats to civil and political liberties, popular participation, and fundamental human rights. Corruption and state capture by predatory political elites led the news in old and new democracies alike. Verbal and physical attacks on civil society, the press, and minorities were reported in virtually all world regions. And new virulent, nationalist ideologies threaten human rights and the carefully crafted post-World War II international liberal order.
This graphic offers a geographical overview of the various international security actors in Mali’s ongoing struggle with widespread insecurity and Islamist extremism. To read more about the conflict as well as Switzerland’s efforts to support the Mali’s fragile peace, see Allison Chandler and Benno Zogg’s recent CSS analysis here. For more graphics on peace and conflict, check out the CSS’ collection of graphs and charts on the subject here.