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Hussein Solomon Explores the Lessons Learned from Attempts to Dislodge Islamic Militants in Mali

Against All OddsIn an essay entitled, “Five Lessons Learned from Ejecting Islamists in Mali”, Professor Hussein Solomon unpacks the attempts to dislodge Islamist terror groups in Africa and explores the lessons learned from standing up to militants in Mali.

The editor of Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern Africa looks at the factors that have aided the French-led intervention force in Gao. One such factor is the suffering of the local population at the hands of Islamic extremists. He also looks at the repercussions of the military interventions.

Read the essay:

In August 2012, residents of Gao demonstrated against the ban on playing football and video games. The desecration of the tomb of Timbuktu’s most revered spiritual leaders, Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar, by Ansar Dine angered residents further and they took to the streets. These protests were brutally put down by the Islamists. Consequently, the residents of Gao welcomed the intervention force.

Second, the intervention force received a force multiplier in the form of the MNLA. Given the fact that they were constantly attacked by the Islamists, MNLA fighters started attacking Ansar Dine, AQIM and MUJAO positions just before the arrival of the intervention force. Moreover, they have moderated their own political demands. They no longer demand an independent state but an autonomous one, one which separates religion and politics. This revised demand on the MNLA lends itself towards a negotiated settlement on the vexing issue of the status of northern Mali. An autonomous northern Mali as opposed to an independent one allows the marriage of Tuareg ethnic identity with Malian national citizenship.

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