Tag Archives: France

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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Getting a read on Serval

From January 2013 through July 2014, the French military carried out on Malian territory a vast intervention codenamed Opération Serval. It has been reputed to be the largest unilateral overseas deployment of France’s armed forces since the Algerian war ended … Continue reading

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Uncomfortable truths about Mali

Some may recall a candid speech from a French diplomat in July 2012 about Mali and its neighbors. It was delivered by Laurent Bigot, then France’s top diplomat for West Africa. Bigot’s candor got him fired, but earned him a … Continue reading

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What Mali’s recent past reveals about its present woes, Part 1: The road to nongovernmentality

These days the sovereignty of the Malian state looks more hypothetical than ever. The government’s control over its northern regions ranges from tenuous to nonexistent. Kidal has been firmly under the rule of Tuareg separatists for two years, while only … Continue reading

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Mali vs. the West

Is Mali the victim of a shadowy global conspiracy? Malians are pondering this question more and more, and for many of them the answer is a clear “yes.” Surveying the chaos engulfing their country and region, they see the hidden … Continue reading

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The paths of conflict diverge

As French troops hunted Islamist fighters in northern Mali this past winter, historian Greg Mann said that what was taking place in the region was not one war, but several. For a few months starting in January 2013, the various … Continue reading

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Intoxication by information: fighting over facts in Mali

The remote village of Tessalit, way up in northern Mali close to Algeria, holds the key to the future of the Saharan region. Anyone in Mali will tell you this. The Guardian‘s Afua Hirsch spoke to a few of them … Continue reading

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Next, the hard bit

According to Al Jazeera, French forces have captured the airport a couple of kilometers outside Timbuktu. Footage from the network also shows a French column advancing northward near Niafunké being welcomed along the way. But the Ahmed Baba Institute has … Continue reading

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Merci François !

The military intervention launched in Mali by French President François Hollande, known as Operation Serval, began Thursday, 10 January. Its stated mission is to push back the advance of Islamist forces and assure the security of France’s 6000 citizens in the … Continue reading

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Au revoir Sarko

What if you were to take an opinion poll in Bamako (a purely hypothetical case — such things almost never happen) and ask, “Which world leader do you hate most?” I’m quite certain Nicolas Sarkozy would top the list. This … Continue reading

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