With the end of both Operation Barkhane and the reduction of the UN mission, MINUSMA,…
With the end of both Operation Barkhane and the reduction of the UN mission, MINUSMA, Northern Mali, is at risk of yet another escalation of violence. As International troops draw back from the country, radical groups have started to fight each other. At the same time, the Malian government, now at its second overthrow in two years, can do very little except rally the Tuareg youths to take arms against these groups.
In this complex and fluid situation, the radical groups that can be traced back to larger entities, such as IS and AQ, are not the only pivotal players in the region. There has been speculation that the Wagner Group is also present in Northern Mali. The great interest that Western countries, France in the first place, showed, and now Russia shows is directly linked to the vast amount of natural resources that the Sahel country possesses.
A new trend is emerging, mainly as a result of the drawdown of western forces, that can deploy assets, equipment, and training far from those of the African countries like Mali and Niger; this trend, somehow already seen with the Tuareg appeal, is that of forming alliances between government entities and non-state actors, and even of starting talks with jihadists groups. This pivotal shift finds its main motives in diminishing attention to the Sahel region in light of the Ukrainian Invasion and the fact that African countries alone do not possess the capabilities required to quash insurgencies with groups like IS and AQ with their experience and current capabilities.