The 2012 Rebellion in North Mali: the MNLA Insurgency, Caught Between the State and the French Intervention


Abstract


In 2012, North Mali was riven by an armed insurrection. The rebellion was led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a mostly Tuareg armed organization, allied with Islamist elements. Its aim was the secession of the Northern territories of the country and to claim the independence of Azawad. Throughout the different phases of the crisis, the MNLA always remained a key actor, being able to reshape its political and military strategy in order to adapt to the evolution of the situation. In this context, France played a capital role. French authorities contributed to giving a new political legitimacy to the Tuareg insurgents, despite strong opposition of political élites in Bamako; the Tuareg insurgents de facto exploited France, leveraging its security interests in pursuit of their own political goals. Examining the agency of insurgent actors in Kidal allows outlining the power relationship with the state institutions and the attempt of consolidating a system of informal rebel governance.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v5n2p511

Keywords: Mali; Tuareg; France; Insurgency; Legitimacy

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