Monitoring the Conflict and Military Intervention in Mali

Posted: 14th January 2013

We’ve previously looked at the expanding influence of Islamist military organizations in Africa via Al Qaeda affiliate organizations as well as home grown groups. Militants have controlled the north of Mali for some months now, but efforts to expand their territory and push south towards Bamako forced international intervention. Air strikes by French forces during the past several days and mobilization of forces from several countries show just how significant the threat from these extremist groups has recently become.

Given the pace of the action in Mali right now, we wanted to provide a few monitoring tools to support analysts in their evaluation of current events and potential future developments or threats. Live visualizations can be accessed below while the public report shared in Recorded Future can be found here.

The above timeline shows the actors supporting the French-led military intervention through troops (US, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, Burkina Faso) and through other channels without force deployment (Canada, Germany, the UK). The success of French air efforts has been limited thus far as militants reportedly progressed in their push south. It will be interesting to see how additional countries take on various responsibilities supporting France’s intervention without contributing ground forces.

Along with the evolution of international governments supporting or condemning the intervention, there are some upcoming events to watch both in Mali and globally  that could shape evolution of the conflict. The following examples are called out in the timeline: meeting of ECOWAS defense chiefs in Bamako tomorrow, threats of protests at the French embassy in Cairo, and delayed peace talks to happen on January 21 in Burkina Faso.

The final point called out on the above timeline is a planned football match for the national team of Mali in the upcoming African Nations Cup. While sporting may not seem to be the most important of issues right now, the gathering of fans to watch matches could present a security threat. This also raises the point of considering disruption spreading globally as protests take place and soft targets may be exploited as retribution forintervention in a similar style to what was seen at US embassies during the fall of 2012.

We’ll continue to follow along and update on any major developments. Bookmark the live views shared above and leave us your comments about developments or anything you uncover using Recorded Future or otherwise.