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How did Mali get here? (Part 5: Institutional explanations)

In this final installment of the series we consider the role of Mali’s political institutions in generating the wave of instability and political violence that has engulfed the country since 2012. Institutionalist analysis ascribes a country’s success–or lack thereof–to the … Continue reading

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How did Mali get here? (Part 4: Geopolitical explanations)

In seeking to understand the long-term sources of instability in Mali, analytical perspectives centered on geopolitics emphasize competition among states, including the Malian government, its Sahelian neighbors, and extra-regional players, in shaping events there. These perspectives pit the Malian state’s … Continue reading

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How did Mali get here? (Part 3: Anti-imperialist explanations)

To account for the extent of state decay and recent political violence in Mali, Western journalists, diplomats and security specialists have often focused on proximate causes (e.g., Islamic radicalization, state corruption, the spread of small arms, and inter-ethnic tensions) with … Continue reading

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How did Mali get here? (Part 2: From military rule to multiparty politics)

Introduction: This post is the second in a series reviewing Mali’s modern history and present trajectory. Subsequent posts will survey the distinct but overlapping analyses of Mali’s postcolonial development. As I work to improve my draft for publication, I invite … Continue reading

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How did Mali get here? (Part 1: Echoes of decolonization)

Introduction: Recently I’ve been drafting a brief overview of Mali’s modern history and present trajectory. The aim is to excavate the long-term political, economic, and historical underpinnings of Mali’s ongoing instability. This post is the first in a series on … Continue reading

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Mafiacracy: The Malian state adrift

This post  was written by A. Karim Sylla of the MaliLink Investigative Reporting Group. A longer version in French, featuring additional coverage of irregularities in public finance and high-level government appointments, appeared on 24 January in Bamako’s Le Républicain newspaper. … Continue reading

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Africa comes to Washington

English novelist David Lodge once observed that professional conferences have become a modern form of pilgrimage. Much like medieval pilgrims, he wrote, conference-goers today “indulge themselves in all the pleasures and diversions of travel while appearing to be austerely bent … Continue reading

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Changement et désespoir : lettre d’un ami américain

Mon cher Lamine, Tu m’as demandé, une fois les résultats du scrutin présidentiel américain connus, “Comment cela a-t-il pu se produire ? Comment la démocratie la plus puissante du monde a-t-elle élu un démagogue déséquilibré à la présidence ?” Comme … Continue reading

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Despairing for change: A letter to a Malian friend

Dear Lamine, You asked me, once the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election was apparent: How could this happen? How could the world’s most powerful democracy elect a volatile demagogue to the highest office in the land? Like many … Continue reading

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Kicking the foreigners out

Amid the recent hype over Donald Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric in the US, the anniversary of a landmark crackdown on unwanted foreigners has quietly slipped past. 20 years ago this week, police broke down the doors of the Eglise Saint-Bernard in … Continue reading

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