Toward a Secure and Stable Mali

Approaches to Engaging Local Actors

by Stephanie Pezard, Michael Shurkin

Download

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.8 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback12 pages $9.95 $7.96 20% Web Discount

Research Questions

  1. How can the international community ensure that northern Mali remains tolerably stable and secure while minimizing the level of international presence required in the region?
  2. What lessons do the history of political unrest in Mali since 1916 offer for current efforts to bring stability and security to northern Mali?

The 2012 conflict in northern Mali has shown that many assumptions about Mali's political stability, internal cohesion, and military capabilities were deeply flawed. The January 2013 French-led military intervention scattered the insurgents, but the conditions and drivers that brought about the crisis in the first place have yet to be addressed. This report is intended to assist with the post-conflict planning in northern Mali by examining the historical, economic, and social factors that drive conflict in northern Mali and the different groups that have been involved in the conflict. The authors argue that, in the absence of a large international presence, durable security in northern Mali will have to be provided, to a large extent, by local actors. The authors draw on historical examples of rebellions in Mali since 1916 to show how detailed knowledge of the different local actors and their political dynamics can help in finding solutions that will bring lasting security and stability to the region.

Key Findings

Understanding Northern Mali's Local Dynamics and Actors Is Key to Finding Security Solutions for the Region

  • Any solution to the crisis in northern Mali needs to take into account the complexity of the root causes — including economic, religious, and political factors — that led to the conflict in the first place.
  • Uprisings in the region are almost always the work of a few specific clans or tribes acting in pursuit of specific objectives, rather than entire communities or ethnic groups rebelling with a common cause.
  • The Malian government and the international community will have to delegate some amount of security responsibility to northerners.
  • Several examples from Mali's past provide cautions and suggestions on how to engage local actors today.

Recommendations

  • Work to engage the local communities that have the ability to provide enduring stability and security in the region.
  • Develop expertise in the local actors and their interests so as to identify appropriate partners and avoid negative unintended consequences.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.