An overview of the various conflicting parties can be found at ECFR.
The joint patrols started in February 2017, the establishment of interim administrations for the five regions of the north and the return of a first army unit to Kidal in February 2020 can be regarded as cautiously hopeful signs. As part of the joint patrols, government soldiers and former rebels go on patrol together, which is an important confidence-building measure. In the interim administrations, some of the leadership posts are held by representatives of the rebel groups. Overall, however, the UN Secretary-General assessed the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement in October 2017 as inadequate and affected by serious problems. It is very worrying that in January 2018 36 members of a new elite unit trained by French and American instructors refused to give orders to operate against extremists, whereupon they were arrested. In February 2018, members of another elite unit left their base, citing the lack of suitable equipment to fight extremists as the reason.
In mid-2017, the European Union decided to support the five Sahel states of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad in setting up a joint anti-terror unit comprising 10,000 soldiers with 50 million euros. In addition, Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged 130 million US dollars in December 2017. The establishment of the unit known as the G5-Sahel was sealed by the heads of state of the five states in July 2017. In February 2018, an international donor conference decided to significantly increase financial support for the G5 Sahel to 414 million euros, which is intended to combat terrorism and migration towards Europe.
According to holidaysort, Mali is a country located in Western Africa. The Algerian government is undoubtedly of considerable importance in the context of the North Mali conflict. In parallel to efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict, it decided to set up a modern border security system along the Malian border.
The French government named the breaking up of the Islamist rebel groups and the restoration of Mali’s territorial integrity as the most important goals of its intervention in Mali. However, the raw material deposits suspected in northern Mali may also have played a role. The deployment of the troops met with broad approval in Mali as well as in France in the early days. Left French opposition parties, however, criticized the military intervention as ” going it alone ” by then President Hollande without consulting the government and parliament.
At the beginning of 2014, the Bundestag decided to send Bundeswehr soldiers to Mali. The soldiers participate in training Malian army units, among other things. At the end of 2015, plans became known according to which the Federal Ministry of Defense wanted to send soldiers to the north of the country, which was classified as extremely dangerous, from spring 2016. This undoubtedly increased the risk to German soldiers in Mali considerably. After the attacks by Islamist terrorists in Paris at the end of 2015, the German government, at the request of the French government, agreed to send up to 650 soldiers ready for Mali. In mid-2017 there were 850 Bundeswehr soldiers in Mali, whose efforts to stabilize the country were praised by Chancellor Angela Merkel during her state visit to Mali. At the beginning of 2018, the Bundestag decided to extend the Bundeswehr mission in Mali. He also decided to expand the deployment, with up to 1,100 Bundeswehr soldiers being able to be deployed in the country in the future. In addition, the Bundeswehr is taking on another core task of monitoring the ceasefire between the conflicting parties. In December 2019, it became known that the German government was not setting up an international special forces unit as requested by France wants to participate in the fight against Islamists in Mali. In March 2020, the European special unit Takuba was founded, which, under French command, will support the Malian army in the fight against Islamist groups from summer 2020. Germany will participate politically in the creation of the new special unit, but will not provide any soldiers. In June 2020 the Bundestag decided to expand the deployment of the Bundeswehr in Mali.
A settlement of the North Mali conflict is also made more difficult by a flourishing smuggling system. In addition to migrants and goods, weapons and drugs are also transported, with new international routes for drug smuggling emerging. In 2009, the discovery of an airplane from Latin America used to transport cocaine in the desert of northern Mali attracted international attention.
The conflict in northern Mali has received increased international attention for over a decade due to the abduction of foreign hostages attributed to Islamic extremists.
The release of a French kidnapped in 2009 and the accompanying release of Islamist fighters arrested in Mali led to a diplomatic crisis with Mauritania. In 2010 three more European hostages were released in northern Mali who had been abducted by the AQMI in Mauritania, among others. It is unclear whether the AQMI received a ransom for the release of hostages.
In 2010, an attempt by a French-Mauritanian commando to free a French kidnapped in Niger by storming an AQMI camp west of Timbuktu failed. A short time later, the AQMI reported the hostage’s murder. Two kidnapped Spanish citizens, however, were released a short time later after making concessions to the AQMI. For a long time, the fate of a group of foreigners (including five French) who were abducted by the AQMI in an attack on a uranium mine in northern Niger remained unclear for a long time. It is believed that the hostages, of which the last until the end of 2013 in the Mauritanian-Malian border area released were, at least temporarily, detained in northern Mali. According to the Nigerien interior minister, an American kidnapped in the Tahoua region of Nigeria in October 2016 was deported to Mali. In July 2017, AQMI released a kidnapped Swede after five and a half years of being held hostage. In the same month, a South African kidnapped in 2011 was also released. In March 2020, the release of a Canadian woman and an Italian who had been kidnapped in Burkina Faso 15 months earlier was reported had been. In October 2020, a French citizen and two Italian citizens were released along with the opposition leader Soumaila Cissé in exchange for 200 Islamists and suspects of Islamism. After their release in October 2020, five citizens of western countries were still in the hands of extremists in the Sahel, including a kidnapped German development worker. At the same time, it became known in October 2020 that a Swiss missionary kidnapped in northern Mali in 2016 was murdered by the AQMI.
In 2011 an attempt by a French special unit to rescue two French citizens kidnapped by the AQMI in the Nigerien capital Niamey failed. The hostages carried off to Mali by their kidnappers died in the unsuccessful liberation operation.