Mali’s two wars

A political map of Mali, showing the northern Azawad region
Mali’s northern Azawad region is vast and its nomadic tribes do not see themselves as having anything in common with the people from the south (source: macpixxel for GIS)
  • Mali faces huge problems, including violence and poverty
  • Terrorist groups have allied with northern ethnic groups who want autonomy
  • International troops, led by France, help keep the Bamako government in power
  • As Bamako antagonizes northern populations, France questions its commitment

Mali’s presidential election, held this past July, is unlikely to improve the country’s lot. Instead, the reelection of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, known as IBK, and the legislative elections scheduled for October 28, will surely add further pressure to Mali’s fractured society. But the country has some urgent challenges that must be addressed, including poverty (Mali is the 17th poorest country in the world), systemic corruption, human trafficking and, above all, the ever-growing cleft between its north and the south. France, which has a military presence in the country and is stabilizing the regime at arm’s length, is trapped in a situation of increasing hopelessness.

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