The destabilization of the Sahel is part of the crisis of the postcolonial states of the three countries Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger (but also northern Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin etc). Neoliberal capitalism has increased inequality and corruption through privatisation, deregulation and out-sourcing. It has also weakened the state and its ability to respond to social crises. One response to this misery has been armed uprisings by groups claiming to be Islamic fundamentalists. Intervention by the French army appears to have made matters worse.

Specific conflicts have developed across Mali in the three different regions of the centre of Mali, the north of Mali and the region of Liptako Gourma known as the “three borders” (including Mali Burkina Faso and Niger).

It is by understanding the particularities of each crisis that we can underline the inefficiency of globalizing responses, and especially when they are largely limited to military action. The lessons from these conflicts may allow us to better understand the origins and possible solutions to instability across the most northerly states of Nigeria.

The situation in central Mali

For the central region of Mali, that is to say the areas of Mopti and Ségou, the rebellion is led by the Katiba Macina led by Hamadoun Koufa. Appearing in 2015, under the name of Macina Liberation Front (FLM), it pledged allegiance to Ansar Dine (an Islamic group in the north of Mali). Koufa also participated in the creation of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM).

This crisis is above all a social crisis, although it is generally presented in the general press as an ethnic struggle between the Fulani accused of being in collision with the jihadists and other communities, in particular the Dogons. The amalgam between Fulani and Islamist is an idea widely shared in the Sahelian countries, it is however false. The origin of this amalgam can be explained by historical reasons. In pre-colonial times, following their abandoning nomadism, some Fulani founded kingdoms based on Islam in Fouta-Djalon in Guinea, Fouta-Toro in northern Senegal, in the northern part of Nigeria with the caliphate of Sokoto and in the 1820s the Macina Empire in Mali. These theocratic states served as a fulcrum to extend Islam to other animist peoples. Thus, we can say that historically the Fulani participated in the progression of Islam on the Sahelo-Saharan lands thanks to jihad. The fact that Hamadoun Koufa, himself of Fulani origin, recruits from among the members of his community supports the thesis of an association between Fulani and Islamism.

In reality, things are much more complicated. The jihadist struggle is above all a struggle against the elites within the Fulani community itself. At the head of this very hierarchical community we find the jooro with regal attributions and representation of the village or sometimes of groups of villages. The jooro plays a role in organising land use between that dedicated to housing, cultivation and grazing. He also sets the price of the contribution so that the animals can graze on the land. If it is not always true, generally this function is passed from the father to the eldest son. But this must also obtain the consent of the notables of the village or the group of villages. The financial contribution initially requested was the symbol of the recognition of the title deed. Over time, it has become more expensive. It is considered excessive by herders, even a kind of racketeering, and is the subject of conflicts that can degenerate into violent clashes.

On the religious level, the marabouts have a great importance in the life of the Fulani. They are at the center of a network of knowledge allowing them to play the role of broker not only between the real and the divine but also socially. They benefit for this from the donations paid by the solicitors in exchange for intercessions.

At the bottom of the social scale, the descendants of slaves, the Riimaybe[9], in opposition to those who were born free, the Rimbe. While slavery in Mali was abolished in 1905 by the colonial power, this issue still remains relevant throughout the country. The Riimaybe remain an ostracized and marginalized population regardless of their level of wealth or education. They represent a recruitment pool for jihadists.

Amadou Koufa is a preacher close to the origins of the Dawa sect in Pakistan. It is there that he met and befriended the leader of the GSIM, Iyad Ag Ghali. Koufa’s life is dedicated to proselytism but also to slaying the excesses that reign, in his eyes, in the traditional Islam of the countries of the Sahel. He sees the great lineages of the marabouts as the key culprits.

Amadou Koufa’s sermons are a good illustration of the reasons that push young Fulani to join the Katiba. The essence of his argument is to base himself on the judgments that the prophet uttered in his time by transposing them to our time. Thus, he can deduce that certain current situations are contrary to Islam. By pushing the argument a little, it can state requirements that are particularly important for poor Fulani herders, for example the prohibition of payment in return for access to fields for grazing animals[10].

His criticisms relate to the rich, the thieves, the begging of the Almajirai, the absence of social protection; at the same time he glorifies the profession of herders to win the sympathy of the poor.

His critics are equally vehement against venal marabouts who he says betray Islam by extorting money from and exploiting the people.

Koufa’s denouncing vision revolves around a double opposition: on the one hand, against the established order of the religious world, in favor of a pure Islam faithful to the teachings of the prophet, and, on the other, against social inequalities and the corrupt world of the rich. These speeches find a great echo among the downgraded population of the Fulani community but also well beyond.

If the ethnicization of the conflict hides its social dimension, it is also a serious source of violence against the Fulani. Indeed, human rights organizations have documented numerous cases where civilians have been imprisoned, beaten and sometimes executed by the Malian armed forces solely because of their ethnicity. Such practices obviously lead to radicalization and some do not hesitate to enlist in the Katiba of Macina, seeing it as a means of revenge or simply of survival.

Amadou Koufa is well aware of this and plays on it when he declares:

We are not afraid of Malian and foreign soldiers; they do not know us and cannot identify us with their satellites and consorts; then, it is you (the villagers) who are the “eyes of the Westerners; without you, they can do nothing against us […] What we ask of you when we return home is simply to say to us: “welcome” […] We ask the mayors of our municipalities, village chiefs, deputies, Imams to come back and be quiet; do not denounce us, do not respect the law of the devil (the Constitution), respect only the law of God […] If you denounce us, we will kill you or you will kill us! We, the jihadists, are going to return with our fighters to the villages, we will ask you not to come between us, the mujahideen, and the soldiers”.[11]

The strategy is clear, it is to integrate among the populations in the villages to better fight the armed forces of Mali. In the absence of identification of the combatants, the Malian soldiers are either forced to abandon or, and often this is the case, to attack young Fulani. The latter having no other choice than to reinforce the opposing camp.

The Fulani question is not specific to Mali, and Amadou Koufa calls for a revolt of the Fulani populations in the countries where they live: in Senegal, Mali, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, in Ghana and Cameroon.

To fight against Islamist fighters, self-defense militias have been formed, often based on the Dozo, the traditional hunters. These militias, which are created on community bases, attack other villages known to be favorable to the jihadists. This is how massacres take place, like those perpetrated on the Fulani villages of Ogossagou and Welingara (March, 2019) where, among the 165 victims, there were children and elderly.

These crimes are attributed to the Dan Nan Ambassagou militia, which is supposed to protect the Dogons against Islamist fighters. In reality, its main activity is to terrorize the Fulani populations.[12] Their practices fit more into the dynamic of ethnic cleansing than a defense of the Dogon populations. These attacks benefit, at the very least, from the laxity of the authorities, if not from their complicity, verified on the ground, between this militia and the troops of the Malian army.[13]

The area of ​​the three borders

This area, also called Liptako-Gourma, includes the two provinces of Soum and Oudalan in northern Burkina Faso, the Tillabéri region in western Niger and finally Gourma located in north eastern Mali.

It is in this part of the Sahel that the French army is concentrating its efforts following the reorganization of Barkhane. This reorganization involves the abandonment of cities in northern Mali – Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu – and the reduction of the workforce by nearly 2,000 men. This region is considered the most dangerous due to the presence of numerous armed groups, including the GSIM. This comes from the merger of three components: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which itself comes from the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, part of Al Mourabitoun, Katiba Macina and Ansar Dine , which mainly recruits among the Tuaregs of northern Mali. Its leader Iyad Ag Ghali became the leader of GSIM. The second force is the Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (EIGS); its historic leader, Adnane Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, was killed by a French airstrike. These two forces can coexist, possibly collaborate, or violently oppose each other, which is currently the case.

Alongside these two Islamic entities, there is a series of armed groups, whose main activities are the trafficking of legal and illegal goods across borders, such as fuel, cigarettes, drugs or even human beings. To complete this picture, we must mention the community self-defense militias that contribute to the insecurity of this region.

These different armed groups are evolving in a context of major economic crisis. The Liptako-Gourma is a set of varied ecosystems which extends from the river zone to the forests passing through the plains, some of which are liable to flooding and which are designated as the bourgoutières, from the name of a plant, the bourgou , which is a fodder plant. The configuration of these spaces means that a large number of herders converge there, leading, sometimes, to very strong community tensions.

As in central Mali, there are many conflicts between and among farmers, herders and even fishermen. The disputes may relate to the payment and amount of royalties between owners of the land and farmers who cultivate part of it, to the possibility of transforming a plot of land dedicated to cattle grazing into agricultural land for domestic needs, or to the use by fishermen of small ponds or branches of the river which are also frequented by animals which can damage the nets.

This multitude of daily conflicts, which may seem minor at first sight, are nevertheless important for the protagonists because they affect their means of subsistence. To settle these disputes, mediations existed, which made it possible to police the conflicts. In some cases, the local courts take action, even if the rendering of court decisions is complicated by unwritten customary law[14] and therefore subject to interpretation. With the disintegration of the State, no structure is capable of deciding between conflicts. The question of justice is an important and often underestimated element in the triggering of crises. It is no coincidence that the first stabilization of Somalia, plagued by several decades of civil wars, was carried out under the aegis of a government of the Union of Islamist Courts, which, even if they were expeditious and cruel, meted out some form of acceptable justice.

The climate crisis is making water and pasture resources scarce. These shortages exacerbate conflicts. The strategy of the Islamists is to insert themselves into the recurring clashes between communities to build a social base and recruit fighters.

In this region, the jihadists are sometimes called upon to administer certain villages or at least to manage certain demands such as access to pastures or wells and to dispense justice with the more or less implicit agreement of the populations.[15]

The situation in northern Mali

It is in this region that the Sahel crisis began. The major trigger was the intervention of France and Britain, supported by the USA, in Libya. Many Tuaregs present in that country have returned to their region of origin, mainly to Niger and Mali, bearing demands or claims and arms.

The beginning of the crisis combined demands for independence which were made at the time by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and demands linked to political Islam. The MNLA was quickly marginalized by the various Islamist groups. They seized the main cities of northern Mali such as Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal and subsequently advanced south, motivating France’s military intervention through Operation Serval.

This operation relied on certain armed factions present in northern Mali to hunt down jihadists. This collaboration has contributed to the difficulties of the return of the Malian state and its army to certain northern regions. The various armed groups were thus able to assert their power. The action of the French army has turned away from its official doctrine of favoring the return of public services to the host country.

Three types of armed groups can be distinguished. The jihadists of the GSIM and the EIGS, the community groups, which are divided according to political criteria (independence or loyalty, signature or not of the Algiers peace agreement), but also according to community criteria, of belonging to tribes or castes. This situation makes it difficult to understand the situation, especially since the alliances and oppositions between the groups are extremely volatile. For most of these groups, the agenda is to protect their community while trying to defend or expand the territories they control, which involves frequent armed clashes.

The Algiers agreements signed in June 2015 have fallen far behind in their application. In fact, there is no political will on the part of most players to apply this agreement, which was initialed for many of them under pressure from the international community. Moreover, the crisis in Algeria, a source of government instability, did not promote the necessary strong involvement of Algerian diplomacy. In fact, the north of Mali largely escapes the control of the Malian State, which has experienced a recurring crisis since the structural adjustment policies.

Crisis of postcolonial states in Sahelian countries

The three countries affected by the Islamist attacks – Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger – are in the grip of deep social and political crises. If the answers given by the governments are often similar, the relations between these countries, the Islamists and France are different.

The last major upheavals in Mali dates from the spring of 2020. Strong popular mobilizations led by Imam Dicko and the political opposition movements questioned the policy of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the elected president. His inability to cope with the attacks of rebel groups, the corruption scandals that marred his mandates, the deterioration of living conditions pushed many Malians to take to the streets. Assimi Goïta’s coup in August 2020, in a way, pulled the rug out from under the leaders of the mobilization. The putschists set up a first government, which was succeeded by another, in May 2021, in what observers called the coup within the coup.

Disagreements deepen between the French and Malian governments. France condemned the two coups, without stopping its cooperation with the FAMA, the Malian armed forces. The question of the redeployment of Barkhane’s forces is also a subject of tension. The French forces want to concentrate on the region of the three borders, a terrain which remains the stronghold of jihadist groups and is certainly less complicated to manage politically than the center of Mali, with its strong social dimension, or the north of the country, which remains a veritable imbroglio of armed groups.

The Malian government criticized this decision, which led each of the two parties to unusual statements in the context of diplomatic relations. Mali’s stated willingness to call on Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Society obviously poisoned the debate. Paris considered their presence to be a red line. Since then, French diplomacy has changed its mind. On the Malian side, it is illusory to place great hopes on these mercenaries. Their behavior with local populations risks making the situation worse, as we saw in the Central African Republic. As for their effectiveness against Islamist rebels, the case of Mozambique, where they intervened, raises serious doubts.

The other sticking point between the two governments is the issue of negotiations with Islamist fighters. For France, it is out of the question to discuss with terrorists; it makes it a position of principle, which, incidentally, is quickly abandoned when it comes to negotiating the release of French hostages. The French army general staff has great difficulty in applying its “counter-insurgency” doctrine that we mentioned above: it is the host country that chooses the political line to follow in the conflict. Starting from a firm position, the Quai d’Orsay (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is forced to let go, because the Malian authorities have started negotiations on several occasions, particularly in central Mali, to liberate villages surrounded by jihadists.

The Malian military junta is seeing its popular support begin to crumble. Subject to sanction by ECOWAS, the organization of West African countries, its room for manoeuvre, inside and outside the country, is limited.

In Burkina Faso, the power in place is weakened by its inability to respond to jihadist attacks and restore security throughout the territory. Demonstrations are increasingly frequent and are not limited to Ouagadougou, the capital. The blocking of the French military convoy, in November 2021, is an illustration of this. Coming from Ivory Coast and bound for Niger, the convoy’s advance was blocked by demonstrators in Bobo Dioulasso (west), then in the capital Ouagadougou where Burkinabe security forces had to use tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. In the absence of tangible results, the French forces of Barkhane are seen as an army of occupation. In the eyes of some, they are even perceived as accomplices of the jihadists.

The dramatic event of the attack on the Inata barracks, in mid-November 2021, caused a stir in Burkinabe society. This isolated barracks in the middle of an environment so dangerous that supplies were only delivered by helicopter, was abandoned and became an easy target for Islamist fighters. The attack killed more than 53 police. If the government’s resignation temporarily calmed the streets, it seriously damaged the credibility of Roch Kaboré, the president of Burkina Faso. He was subsequently removed in the coup in the end of January 2022.

Elected in April 2021, Mohamed Bazoum, the new president of Niger, had to face an attempted coup two days before his inauguration. If this putsch was quickly foiled, this event is indicative of the instability of the country. Niger is facing a double threat, that of the GSIM and EIGS organizations, and that of Boko Haram around the city of Diffa in the south-eastern region of the country.

Mohamed Bazoum has posed himself as a defender of French politics in the face of criticism. He does not hesitate to muzzle the political organizations of the opposition and the militant civil society which have declared themselves in favor of the departure of foreign armed troops from the country. This concerns Barkhane, but also the US military drone base in Agadez. The restrictions of human rights are made under the guise of the fight against terrorism.

Demonstrations against the French military convoy in Niger in late November 2021, which followed those in Burkina Faso, resulted in three deaths, probably at the hands of the French army. This would not be the first time since in Côte d’Ivoire, French soldiers had fired on a crowd in November 2004 causing around sixty deaths. If Bazoum dismissed his Minister of the Interior on the occasion of this tragic incident, he is asking France for an investigation, despite them issuing a plea of ​​inadmissibility.

Barkhane’s impasse

The armies of Mali, Niger and Burkina are inefficient. Most of their activities remain the organization of coups and the establishment of a climate of fear against their own population. There is a kind of illusion that has persisted for decades about the possibility of making African armies effective. In the maintenance of this illusion, France is not left out, even though it prides itself on knowing the “field” well. Projects such as RECAMP (Reinforcement of African Peacekeeping Capacities) which aimed to professionalize the security forces of the countries of French Africa are an illustration of this[16]. The results are identical for the project of the European Union Training Mission (EUTM). This is a training structure of the European Union which has been promoting military training in Mali since 2013, without much success.

It is misleading to think that the army as a state structure could escape the blemishes of carelessness, corruption and decay that affect most African states. Europe, like the USA, is trying to train Sahelian soldiers, but what can the latter do at the front when they lack fuel, ammunition or even food, as a report on the Malian army suggested in a broadcast on French television.[17] The demotivation of the junior soldiers is profound. They live in slums while senior officers, most of whom have never set foot on a battlefield, build themselves luxurious villas. Their salaries are derisory compared to the salaries of Islamist fighters. They know that their families will have the greatest difficulty in receiving a pension in the event of their death.

Financial aid is diverted, donations of materials are sold, sometimes even enemy militias. Those who dare to protest against this corruption are expelled from the army and may risk their lives.

As for the army of Burkina Faso, it was structured under the era of the former president, Compaoré by making a clear division between a presidential guard, that was a well-trained and well-paid elite, and the rest of the army, comprising men with little training and under paid.

After the revolution that ousted Compaoré in 2014, the head of the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) Gilbert Diendéré plotted a coup in vain. The RSP was disbanded and its members scattered among the various battalions. Another element that reinforces the inefficiency of the army are the division which date back to the mutinies of 2011. At the time, some regiments were used to suppress their fellow mutineers.

In such a situation, the armies of these Sahelian countries are not able to resist the advances of the Islamist rebels who are leading a vigorous guerrilla war. The governments of Mali and Burkina Faso are pursuing a security policy of headlong retreat which consists of promoting the establishment of armed self-defense militias in the villages.

The example of the Volunteers for the Defense of the Fatherland (VDP) of Burkina Faso is, in this respect, enlightening. These groups are intended to be sources of information for the Burkinabé forces and to place themselves on the front line in the defense of the villages. Their objective is to contain the attacks of the Islamist rebels while waiting for the intervention of the army. These VDPs receive a fortnight’s training and are equipped only with basic guns.

If the VDPs are open to all Burkinabè, in fact the Fulani are excluded because they are considered accomplices or potential accomplices of the jihadists. Thus, arming civilians by pushing aside an entire community is a risk for the cohesion of the country, all the more so as inter-community conflicts become frequent.

By blurring the line between civilians and soldiers, the VDPs have become not only prime targets, as symbols of compromise with the government, but also soft targets, due to their poor armaments and training. Attacks in the villages where they are present thus cause more civilian deaths.

The Malian government is not to be outdone by supporting militias such as the Tuareg Self-Defense Group Imghad and Allies (GATIA) in northern Mali. This group is accused of trafficking in drugs, human beings and enlistment of child soldiers. We mentioned the situation in central Mali and the support of Dan Nan Ambassagou on the ground.

The Nigerian government is more cautious. The episode in the village of Banibangou in early November 2021, during which 70 militiamen from the self-defense group fell into an ambush by Islamist rebels, can only reinforce this position.

A common point between the official army and self-defense militias is that both are responsible for human rights violations that can be characterized as war crimes. This fact is all the more worrying since these crimes are often linked to the community affiliation of the victims. The armed forces of the Sahelian countries, like certain militias, are regular partners of the Barkhane force. The absence of condemnation by the French general staff of the abuses of their brothers in arms makes the French military presence, if not formally, at least in the perception of the victimized populations, an accomplice of the French army[18 ]. If we refer to the “counter-insurgency” document and its recommendation to reject forces that do not respect civilian populations, Barkhane remains largely outside the proclaimed standards.

In reality, the French army general staff cannot afford to condemn the war crimes of the Malian, Nigerien or Burkinabe armies, and even less those committed by the Chadian army, which, as we will see further, plays a crucial role in the military posture in the Sahel. There is too great a risk of provoking a diplomatic crisis which would favor a much greater destabilization of the region. Barkhane is embarked in a dirty war, because, it should be remembered, the number of victims of the regular armies and groups of auxiliaries is higher than that caused by the jihadists[19].

The total absence of a minimum of political control of external operations makes it possible to avoid the debate on the responsibility of the French army in the deaths of civilians, either because of its collaboration with those responsible for abuses, or directly, due to targeting errors, such as the bombing of a wedding in Bounti, Mali, which resulted in the death of 19 people. However, from a legal point of view this minimum of political control should be exercised in full view in accordance with article 35 of the French Constitution:

The Government informs Parliament of its decision to involve the armed forces abroad, no later than three days after the start of the intervention. It specifies the objectives pursued. This information may give rise to a debate which is not followed by a vote.

When the duration of the intervention exceeds four months, the Government submits its extension to the authorization of Parliament. He can ask the National Assembly to decide in the last resort.

If Parliament is not in session at the end of the four-month period, it decides at the opening of the following session.”

Chad represents for France the centerpiece of its commitment in the Sahel. During Operation Serval, Chadian troops found themselves on the front lines of ground battles against jihadist rebels and paid a heavy price.

The Chadian government is using the fight against terrorism as a cash cow that allows it to ensure its survival, and it works. The proof of this is that France did not hesitate to use Barkhane’s forces to defend the regime of Idriss Déby against the columns of the Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT), an organization which nevertheless had nothing to do directly or indirectly with jihadism. Another fact is the French President, Macron’s support for the seizure of power by Mahamat Déby Itno on the death of his father on April 20, 2021. This action was nevertheless totally against the constitutional order of this country. Indeed, the transition should have been ensured by the President of the Senate pending new elections which were to take place within 90 days of the death of Idriss Déby.

The guideline of France’s foreign policy in Africa is the search for stability in the countries. To this end, it does not hesitate to support dictatorships supposed to maintain the expected status quo. Significant is the declaration of the Elysée on the death of Idriss Déby, which twice insists on the importance of stability:

Chad has lost a great soldier and a President who has worked tirelessly for the security of the country and the stability of the region for three decades. France is losing a brave friend.

France stands alongside the Chadian people in this ordeal. It expresses its firm attachment to the stability and territorial integrity of Chad.

It takes note of the announcement by the Chadian authorities of the establishment of a transitional military council, a body responsible for conducting a political transition of a limited duration”[20].

This is how many have criticized France for its variable diplomatic positions, castigating the coup in Mali but approving the one in Chad.

Worrying prospects

With the evolution of the conflict, we can just see that French army operation of Barkhane is not part of the solution but part of the problem. The growing scale of the war further removes the possibility of acceptable solutions for the populations. The question of the opening of negotiations with the Islamist rebels is raised, and not only by the Malian government. Already in 2014, the PARENA, a Malian opposition party, raised this possibility, taken up in 2017 in the recommendations of the National Conference of Understanding. France exerted strong pressure against this option, which is nevertheless shared by a large part of the population. Once again, the contradiction is obvious with the official doctrine which specifies on the subject of the French intervention forces:

They only act in support of a local political structure. In any case, it is this indigenous political system that guides, even constrains their action.”[21]

In Mali, the opposite happened.

The opening of negotiations, certainly not a panacea, nevertheless makes it possible to put political problems on the table and to ward off the violence of which civilians are the first victims. Already local negotiations have taken place in central Mali and have helped to mitigate the violence. The leaders of the French army are obliged to recognize this reality:

For General Michon, the JNIM[22] (a jihadist nebula affiliated with Al-Qaeda) is strong in terms of lasting roots, and endogenous recruitment in areas neglected by the state. The terrorist group is able to impose an authority acceptable to certain populations in central Mali.”[23]

It would also isolate the most radical jihadists.

Conflicts in Libya have subsided. Elections are scheduled for 2022 and could turn the page on the civil war. In the absence of war, there is a risk that hundreds of fighters involved in the Libyan conflict will integrate into that of the Sahel, either by reinforcing the Islamist rebels or by engaging in banditry. What triggered the conflict in Mali with the return of the Tuaregs from Libya could well be repeated.

Movements of militia from one conflict to another are common. We saw it with the columns of the Séléka which took power in the Central African Republic and who were largely composed of Sudanese, Chadian and Libyan fighters.

The second element of concern, which we have discussed, concerns the Fulani community, stigmatized to varying degrees in all the Sahelian countries. This community represents around forty million people. If the amalgam between Fulani and jihadists is totally unfounded, the violent stigmatization could really push them into the arms of violent Islam. The urgency is therefore to settle the basics of a social and economic problem: the question of the sharing of resources, the redefinition of transhumance corridors, the prices to be paid for pastures, the establishment of legitimate mediation.


Translated from the original French article available at:

[1] Lettre datée du 4 octobre 2021, adressée au Président du Conseil de sécurité par le Secrétaire général ref : S/2021/850

[2] Contre-insurrection (COIN) DIA-3.4.4(A)1 COIN N° 064/DEF/CICDE/NP du 15 avril 2013 p.24

[3] Ibidem p.32

[4] Ibidem p.34

[5] Ibidem p.19

[6] Ibidem p.31

[7] Ibidem p.32

[8] Shurkin Michael, L’intervention française au Sahel et l’évolution de la doctrine de contre-insurrection, Étude 90, IRSEM, novembre 2021 p.53

(8b) Operation Barkhane is an ongoing “anti-insurgency” operation that started on 1 August 2014, and is led by the French military against Islamist groups in Africa’s Sahel region. It consists of a roughly 5,000-strong French force, which is permanently headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

[9] Bruijn, M. E. de, & Pelckmans, L. (2005). Facing dilemmas : former Fulbe slaves in modern Mali. Canadian Journal Of African Studies, 39(1), 69-96.

[10] Bourgeot André Le djihad armé d’Amadou Koufa Recherches internationales, n° 117, janvier-mars 2020, p. 99

[11] Bourgeot André Le djihad armé … p.109

[12] Jean-Hervé Jézéquel Centre du Mali : enrayer le nettoyage ethnique International Crisis Group

[13] FIDH/AMDH – Dans le centre du Mali, les populations prises au piège du terrorisme et du contre-terrorisme p 52


[15] Frontière Niger-Mali : mettre l’outil militaire au service d’une approche politique. International Crisis Group Report N°261 12 June 2018


[17] Peggy Bruguière Mali, les sacrifiés du Sahel

[18] A la frontière entre le Niger et le Mali, l’alliance coupable de l’armée française in

[19] Sahel : Ce qui doit changer | Pour une nouvelle approche centrée sur les besoins des populations | Recommandations de la Coalition citoyenne pour le Sahel p.9


[21] Contre-insurrection … p.31

[22] Acronyme anglais de GSIM


[24] Assemblée nationale XIVe législature Session ordinaire de 2012-2013 Compte rendu intégral Séance du lundi 22 avril 2013



[27] Assemblée nationale XIVe législature Session ordinaire de 2012-2013 Compte rendu intégral Première séance du mercredi 16 janvier 2013


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