Today’s post offers no analysis, just some pointers and recommendations for more reading into the most recent developments in Mali. The English-language press having stepped up its coverage, most of the links below are from anglophone sources.
- The International Criminal Court in the Hague has opened an investigation into war crimes committed in Mali since the beginning of 2012.
- On Thursday, Malian troops were said to have deployed to the Banamba area, some 150 km by road northeast of Bamako, to counter a possible incursion of Islamists from Diabaly. The Malian press reported on Friday that this was a false alarm, but I’ve heard an unconfirmed report that three men were arrested there for attempting to bribe a soldier to let them pass through a checkpoint. The fear is that they were they gathering intelligence for the Islamists.
- In the Segou region, unconfirmed reports carried by the BBC and AFP claim that French and Malian troops have retaken the small town of Diabaly, occupied by Islamist forces since Monday. These reports have been contradicted by the French defense minister. For an insight into Islamist tactics, I strongly advise reading Alan Boswell’s reporting on how the Islamists took Diabaly in the first place. Camilla Toulmin’s reflections on her time near Diabaly over the years offer an historical counterpoint.
- Andy Morgan analyzes historical tensions in northern Mali on CNN.com, and has posted an excerpt of his forthcoming book, entitled “Guns, cigarettes & Salafi dreams: the roots of AQIM,” to his blog.
- What do Malians living in the contested territory between Islamist and government forces think about how their country should be governed? Political scientists Jaimie Bleck and Kristin Michelitch provide fascinating answers in the results of their survey in the Mopti region, conducted both before and after last year’s military coup (the most recent data were collected in July 2012).
- “Looking Ahead in Mali,” by Scott Straus and Leif Brottem, is among the best reflections I’ve yet seen in print about how Mali got to this point and how it might get out.
The graphic below is from the website of The Atlantic, adapted from one created by France24 on 16 January.