Towards the Crisis in the Sahel
Nearly four months after the beginning of the French military intervention in Mali, the country is now facing an unprecedented critical setting. For the populations of northern Mali and even beyond, the feeling of “liberation” is undeniable. The military intervention ended a jihadi offensive that the Malian army was unable to handle and that began to threaten not only the Malian State, but the all Sahelian strip. Nevertheless, the security situation remains highly volatile and the Malian as well as African and United Nations’ authorities must agree on a strategy that provides security, facilitates an inter-communal dialogue, enables to re-install the State in the North and tackles the key issue of governance. The challenges that Mali is then facing are of considerable importance not only at its own level but at the all regional level and, as a matter of fact, it is the quality and efficiency of the response to these challenges that will also determine the face of North African jidadism in the coming years.
In the beginning of last year and in less than three months, the Malian political regime has been annihilated. On 17 January 2012, an armed rebellion expelled the Malian Army from the Northern part of the country and, on the 22nd of March, a Coup D’état dispelled the President Amadou Toumani Touré (ATT). These two successive events have ushered the Country in an unprecedented critical setting and disrupted the political and security regional situation.
Nevertheless, the current situation was somehow predictable and numerous analysts earlier evoked the likelihood of a political outbreak in the light of the regional context. The outbreak of the crisis can indeed be considered as the result of the overlapping of different regional features. First of all, and probably most importantly, the countries of the Sahel Region are facing an important increase in the numbers of transnational and non-state armed groups (NSAGs) – i.e. AQIM, Ansar dine, MNLA, etc … Second of all, the Tuareg issue is highly critical and needs a political answer. Third of all, the Region has been directly affected by the political upheavals of the Arab Spring and especially by the fall of Qaddafi’s Regime, which led to a massive flow of populations and weapons and drastically aggravated the regional security situation. Last but not least, a geostrategic game over the natural resources of the Region – oil, uranium, gold, etc. – not only played by the West but also by the Mideast countries and China.
It is in this broad context that the Malian crisis must be thought. Therefore and despite the previously conceivable likelihood of a substantial political crisis, its strength and extent were hardly foreseeable and the rapid expulsion of the Malian Army from the north as well as the annihilation of the Central Authority have disconcerted both the International Community and the primary actors of the rebellion. Indeed, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) was the first group to launch the rebellion in January and was eventually largely overwhelmed by the consequences of its actions. Soon after the Coup d’Etat, four NSAGs led by different demands took control of the north:
• The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA)
• Ansar Dine
• The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA)
• Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
In front of this situation and as the tuareg and independentist movements got slowly overcome by the jihadists that began to establish Sharia law in the major northern cities, thousands of people began to flee in neighboring countries. On the 1st of April, the authors of the coup d’état gathered into a National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State (CRNDRE) and signed an agreement with the designated mediator of the European Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Blaise Campaoré, agreeing the respect of the Malian Constitution and the instauration of a new Government of Transition.
Slowly, it is a form of stalemate that began to take place with the country being divided between the problems of governance in Bamako and the instauration of the Sharia law in the North. Despite the attempts to set negotiations, the situation hardly evolved and in front of the threat to see AQIM and its affiliated groups easily developing their activities, it is the diplomatic moves towards a military intervention that grew in intensity.
While the strategy of a military intervention is being slowly developed, it is the new offensive of the jihadis towards the key strategic cities of Mopti and Konna that eventually lead the UN Security Council to allow a military intervention in the framework of Resolution 2085.
On the 12th of January, French Military air strikes began on the jihadi positions in Mopti and Konna. The French troops, backed by Nigerian, Tchadian and other African countries’ forces, re-conquered the cities of Gao, Tumbuctu and Kidal – dispelling Islamist combatants from the North and enabling Mali to regain control over its territory.
Three months and a half after the beginning of the intervention and while combats are still taking place in the Ifoghas Mountains between allied forces and members of AQIM, on the 26th of April, the UN reached the decision to deploy twelve hundred blue helmets in a stabilization mission as the French army is slowly beginning its exit strategy.
Then, it is now an ambitious and necessary mission of securization and stabilization that begins to take place in northern Mali. The challenges faced are absolutely considerable and will likely require a long-term engagement.
Besides the de facto interest that constitutes the timeline of a war, this description is necessary in any attempt to understand the current situation and the security challenges this country is now facing. However, in the light of this situation, two questions are being brought on the table: on the one hand is the issue of the actual historical sources of the crisis and of the links and/or influence of domestic problems of the Maghreb countries over the Sahel; on the other hand is now the issue of the evolution of the Islamist threat in the Region, following the military intervention. As a matter of fact, the french intervention and the situation in Mali are creating a all new map of the Islamist threat in the Sahel and North Africa. If both questions are absolutely crucial, the capacity to map and understand these coming evolutions is however the primary condition in order to conduct an efficient stabilization mission in Mali and avoid the all region to indeed become, as some analysts already claim, a new and bigger Afghanistan. This is the aim of this essay.
The Sources of Jihadism in the Sahel
1) The Algerian Civil War
Thirty years after the end of the French colonization – in a country still profoundly marked by this past – it is the 1991 Parliamentary elections that will, once again, usher the country in one of the most dramatic path of its history – and which legacy can still easily be felt all around the country. In 1991, the National Liberation Front (FLN), ruling the country since the independence on the basis of its strong legitimacy acquired during the decolonization war, is however being challenged by the population. In a context of strongly planned economy and high dependency towards the oil exports, it is the 1980s oil gluts that makes the Algerian barrel plunges from US$35 to US$10 and the quick rise of unemployment that followed, coupled with the lack of public liberties led the populations to take the streets in 1988. Far from appeasing the situation, President Bendjedid’s repression federates the population, eventually leading to the organization of elections in 1991. Leading the political contestation is the newly constituted Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which after a hard work on the ground to convince local populations of the all country to vote, eventually wins the first round. The height of its score leaves really little doubt about the results of the coming second round and the Generals, largely “controlling” the political life for years, decide to cancel the elections and orchestrate a Coup d’Etat.
Thus is engaged a power struggle between the population, the FIS and the Government. Soon after, the FIS decides to create an armed branch of the movement, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), therefore engaging into an actual armed struggle with the Algerian government, using methods of terrorism to compensate the inequality of force. Yet, far from being a unified movement, it is actually dozens of GIAs that get formed with different leaders and, of course, methods. Soon enough, the population gets stuck between an illegitimate government and self-proclaimed freedom fighters that, more often than not, “terrorize” the people. Therefore, in front of the use of terror and what is considered to be inacceptable methods, the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) is created by Hassan Hattab in 1988. With a less Algerian-centred agenda, the newly constituted organization will enjoy the return of Algerian and foreign combatants from Afghanistan and the broader Middle-East – carrying a new ideology in addition to their military experience. Two years later, with the end of the Algerian Civil War and the Amnesty law followed by the important Algerian counter-terrorism campaign, the organization finds itself compelled not only to “broaden” its discourse – since the war is over – but also to move further south in Algeria and the Sahel in order to find new sources of financing (cf. Part III).
Little by little, the GSPC therefore establishes itself in the broader Sahel, before eventually joining Al Qaida in 2007. Now called Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the cell remains largely led by Algerian nationals and continues so set its bearings in the all Region, using trade routes (see Part III) and other regional cells to get better implanted. In this setting, the fall of Gaddafi and the massive flow of weapons and personnel finished off its empowerment.
2) The Fall of Gaddafi
In February 2011, following the path of the Arab Spring and the ousting of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt, it is the Libyan streets than eventually rise up as well. Started from the Eastern city of Benghazi and its strong record of political activism and opposition to Gaddafi, the uprising quickly takes the form of a “divided unity”, where the contestation gets organized along communities, tribes and even streets. If the strong community division of Libya is at the core of the current difficulty to implement an efficient Security Sector Reform and build the road towards peace, it is also, from a strategic standpoint, the reason of the success of the revolution. Far from being a unified rebellion, the uprising rather took the form of an amalgamation of numerous armed groups and militias, acting on their own and sometimes joining forces to undertake major strategic actions. Thus it is that the strategic city of Misrata – strategic because of its localization on the west part of the country, because of the size of its port and its economic wealth – got liberated, enabling the revolution to take another turn. Yet, prior to the UN Resolution 1973 allowing the establishment of a no-fly-zone, the logistical support of France, the United Sates, Great Britain and Qatar, coupled with the pillage of Gaddafi’s arm-stockpiles led to a massive flow of weapons all around the country.
Muammar Gaddafi, which personal protection and army was largely composed of foreigners and especially Tuareg mercenaries slowly saw the all security sector collapsing, with those foreigners leaving the country heavily armed in the fear of retaliation. The lack of control at the borders enabled a massive flow of weapons and soon after the actual fall of Gaddafi, it is an actual arms trade route that developed between Libya and the rest of the Maghreb and Sahel countries. In parallel, many members of AQIM having joined the uprising to support the ousting of Gaddafi in the name of jihad went back to the Sahel with not only weapons but also trucks, oil and strong military experience.
After the fall of Gaddafi, it is therefore the all Sahelian strip that got plunged into a worrying security situation. Two years after the end of the revolution, the National Transitional Council (NTC) with the support of the United Nations Mission Support in Libya (UNSMIL) hardly manage to control the borders of the country in a context where AK47s, RPGs and even heavier weapons are easily available everywhere in the country with therefore very little cost. The last UN Reports on Libya states the existence of piles of weaponries of all kind in the very streets, logically causing a lot of accidents but also strongly feeding these new developed arms trade routes. Thus, if the fall Gaddafi has largely empowered AQIM and other non-state armed groups in the all region, it clearly still continued to do so at the beginning of the military intervention in Mali.
Serval: The French Military Intervention
1) The Liberation of Northern Mali
With the fall of Gaddafi and growing involvement in criminal activities (cf. Part III) and consequently the empowerment of AQIM and other non-state armed groups in the Region, it is the long-standing Tuareg issue that primarily re-emerged. With a strong record of revolts in the 1960s, 80s and 90s, the vast Tuareg community of the Sahel and especially the one “living” in Northern Mali coupled with the access to weapons and the come back of tuareg people with military experience enabled the re-launch of a revolt in the North. Thus it is that we saw the creation of the the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) that however got quickly overcome by AQIM and other affiliated groups such as Ansar Eddine or the MOJWA in its attempt to take control of the North.
Having controlled Northern Mali for almost a year, AQIM was able to extend its domain of action and assemble many jihadi combatants coming from West-Africa and the Middle-East (the focal point of jihadism becoming the Sahel and Syria). In its attempt to impeach any bigger gathering and organization of the Malian army in the strategic cities of Mopti and Konna – strategic because of their geographic location and the presence of an airport – AQIM launched an offensive which likeliness of success led the Malian authorities to call the help of an already prepared French Army.
The taking of the cities of Gao and Tumbuctu went really fast. After the destruction of logistic basis with military airstrikes, the French troops – helped with combatants of the Malian army – encountered really little resistance in the city of Gao and absolutely none in Tumbuctu. However, the city of Kidal promised to be more difficult to take. Indeed, it is the hometown of many tuareg combatants and leaders, notably Iyad Ag Ghali, the head of Ansar Eddine. It also is the last city before Algeria and is the host of the Ifoghas Mountains, which is a great chain of mountains that enables to hide and where AQIM’s hostages are supposed to be kept. Nevertheless, here too, the fighters of AQIM, Ansar Eddine and the MOJWA had already fled the city and really little combats actually took place. One month and a half after the beginning of the French intervention, the all of Northern Mali had been “liberated”.
Yet, on the 8th of February, Mali experienced the first suicide-bombing of its history with a motorcyclist striking one of the busiest intersection of Gao. The day after, two men with explosive belts were arrested 20kms north of Gao and, on the 10th of February, it is a commando that encircled Malian soldiers. With these attacks, answering the French intervention and the liberation of northern Mali, began the reality of the war with AQIM. The total lack of resistance encountered during the taking of the cities, far from constituting a victory or the defeating of the Islamists in the Region actually marks the dispersion of the threat all around the Region, the beginning of the fight of an asymmetric war and, eventually, the re-definition of the Jihadi threat.
2) The Foreseeable Asymmetric War
If the descriptive nature of the previous parts may appear as not analytical enough, it worth noting here that their interest actually lie in the configuration and evolution of the Islamist movement in the Region that they define. With the French military intervention and the easy re-conquest of the North, it is all together the Algerian roots of the movement and role of the fall of Gaddafi in their empowerment that partly become issues of the past. Despite its reluctance to see a French intervention, the Algerian authorities have now put a great effort in trying to secure their borders – especially since the hostage taking of the gas compound in In Amenas – and the escape of AQIM, MOJWA and Ansar Eddine’s combatants from Northern Mali only marks both the beginning of the fight of an asymmetric war against not only France but against all the regional countries that agreed to provide their support (Mali, Niger, Tchad, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, etc…) and their re-deployment in all West Africa.
Therefore, there is a de facto pre and post military intervention and to the re-conquest of Northern Mali has now succeeded the probable extension of the threat both geographically and strategically. What is now at stake for the regional countries and for France is the capacity to assess the evolutions and forms that the Islamist movement is going to take in this Region of the world, following the military intervention and the dispersion of the Jihadist combatants. With northern Mali being back in the hands of Bamako and the International Community, it is financial canals that have been drought up as well as ways to access weapons, oil and other logistical needs. Logically enough, the critical issue for the Islamists is now to find new sources of funding, ways to provide themselves logistical support, get established in other strategic areas and develop links with other local and regional Islamist groups. Yet, it is precisely this new geography of the threat that the International Community and the Regional countries that are now threatened by terrorist attacks must understand and anticipate in order to ensure their own security and envisage a sustainable plan for Mali.
Between Jihadism and Criminal Activities
1) Organized Crime in the Sahel
It is possible to find the roots of commercial flows in the region back in the nineteenth Century, when long-distance caravan trade and commerce was usually based on families and communities. If the colonization enabled the emergence of great communities involved in trade, it is also at this very moment that we can find the traces of the existence of informal arrangements, tightening the boundary between licit and illicit trade. In the second half of the 20th Century, while international trade increased, the number of goods arriving in Mauritian and Libyan ports made the region of North Mali and Niger a central point. The decolonization has partly stressed this boundary as new actors tried to establish themselves in the sector. In the 1990s, the embargo imposed on Libya accelerated the process of contraband. In parallel, the Algerian Civil War and the economic paralysis that it involved enabled new groups, such as the Salafi Group for Predication and Combat (GSPC) and former AQIM, to develop new funding means, by going a bit further south in Algeria, especially around the city of Tamanrasset. This geographic repositioning opened new possibilities and led to further criminal involvement – as the ongoing conflicts in Niger and Mali transformed the Region into a central point for arm trafficking.
The development of those various traffics in a context of post-decolonization, mass indebtedness and failure of state-building led to the creation of networks between government officials and groups involved in the traffics. Cigarette smuggling became one feature of illicit trade in the Sahel and greatly contributed to the creation of webs of relationships, which now allow larger trafficking. The massive and rather easy access to illicit trade, in vast areas that cannot be controlled by the States to which they belong, has led to massive collusions between various criminal groups and Mauritanian, Nigerian, Malian and Algerian officials. The significance of these collusions is difficult to assess. However, in 2011, Mauritian President Ould Abdel Aziz’s decision to reduce the prison sentences of five convicted cocaine smugglers and a court’s decision to release thirty convicted smugglers raised numerous questions about the significance and level of these collusions.
2) Collusion, Affiliation & Networks
The importance of these affililiations and involvement in illegal traffics in the region have led some analysts to primarily focus on the extent of these activities, eventually reaching the conclusion that AQIM was by now essentially a criminal organization with really little political and/or Islamist agenda. Largely based on the work of P. Collier and the will to distinguish the “mere discourse of grievance” from the supposedly reality of the activities, these analysis have led to the implementation of policies at the International level as well as the Malian level that, in fact, enabled the reinforcement of these activities. While, in the framework of the American Pan-Sahelian Initiative (PSI) and in collaboration with regional national authorities, important amounts of funds were allocated to dry up these illegal trade routes, AQIM and its affiliated group actually took advantage of this change of focus to develop alliances with the MNLA, before eventually overcome this organization, take control of the North and impose Sharia law. In addition to the refutation of the crime-oriented argument, the conquest of the north and the nature of its occupation have also highlighted the incredible capacity of adaptation of these organizations – if ever it needed to be highlighted once more. In short, the truth is that, in the context of the end of the Algerian civil war and therefore the loss of financial support from some Arabic states – notably Egypt – the movement found itself compelled to find new sources of funding and, in this regard, as analyzed above, the south of Algeria and the north of Mali constituted important strategic areas. However, now that the region is back in the hands of Malian and international authorities, the issue of the financing means is posed to the organization once again. Yet, in looking for and finding these means of funding, it is the organization and geography of the Islamist threat that is going to change.
In this context, the already considerable and growing importance of West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea in International trade must constitute one of the main sources of focus of the International Community in its struggle against Islamist terrorism. Yet, there already are existing proofs that AQIM is gaining traction in West Africa. Even before the intervention, the two bombing attacks in Nouakchott, which left eleven people dead was followed by the evacuation of 114 American nationals in Burkina Faso after the dismissal of a planned bombing attack in Bobo-Dioulasso. Moreover, the recent creation of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA), officially affiliated to Al Qaida and with proved ties with other organizations in the Gulf of Guinea is another worrying sign. Eventually, despite the long-run Nigerian-oriented approach of Boko Haram, the kidnapping of a whole family in Cameroon last march clearly marks a turning point in the organization’s strategy, which so far refused to be engaged in kidnappings and to target westerners. It is, in fact, the face of jihadism in North Africa that is currently changing.
The New Geography of Jihadism in North Africa
1) Fighting Nowhere, Fighting Everywhere
If it appears evident that the military intervention in Mali and the fight of an asymmetric war are going to change the face of the Islamist threat in the all region, the difficulty in trying to foresee these evolutions lies within two levels of analysis. If the first one is the (logical) difficulty to try to assess the nature of these potential evolutions in a context where unpredictability is the core strategy of every action, the second one is the challenge to be able to discern the new geography of the threat when, precisely, there is no such thing and the affiliation between regional organizations (only) lies in the threat that they represent for the countries that are fighting against them. In fact, if the military intervention is leading to a clear re-deployment of the threat in the all region, it also gives birth to new affiliations which only reality is their common will to target westerners and western interests.
As mentioned earlier, the support of numerous regional countries to the French military intervention only increases the threat of terrorist attacks that they are facing. The question is not here to decide whether or not their involvement was a good thing but rather to emphasize the fact that, if the occupation of Northern Mali “localized” or “centralized” the threat, the intervention, on the other hand, has led to a clear decentralization of the threat where existing ties with organization in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea do not shelter the Sahelian countries for all that. As frightening as this perspective may appear, what is likely to be seen in the coming months and years is actually a growing intensity of small targeted actions undertook by small katibas in the countries that have expressed or materialized their support to the intervention. The kidnapping of a French family in Cameroon last march was claimed by Boko Haram in its newly developed attempt to target the invaders and its supporters. Besides, if the question of Boko Haram would clearly deserve a full other paper, this last hostage taking however shows not only its “personal” change of strategy – as it has historically and strategically been Nigerian-centred – but also the change in the nature of the threat that is likely to occur at the all region-scale. In a word and at the risk of probably simplifying too much, it is probable that the military intervention actually acts as a rallying cry not for all but for many regional and local organizations driven by an Islamist agenda. In this perspective, it is not only the struggle against terrorism in the region that would become highly complicated but also, to come back to the beginning of this paper, the very historical sources of the jihadist threat in the Sahel that would only become historically relevant.
2) “The Lack of Unity is our Strength”
Of course, all this remains highly hypothetical. Nevertheless, in the extent where it is the impact of the intervention over the Islamist threat in the region and its evolution(s) that will determine not only the actual success of the Serval operation but also the future capacity to handle the threat, these eventualities must be considered and taken into account.
Among the known affiliated groups of AQIM in West Africa are Boko Haram, the MOJWA, and Ansar Eddine. The singularity of these affiliations is that, more often than not, they only lie on the common will to target western interests and push for an islamist agenda. If the issue of the reasons and basis of this agenda is another great question, what needs to be understood is that despite the possibility for these groups to sometimes undertake joint actions, the reasons of their emergence and their ways to operate are really specific. In this regard, Boko Haram has long been focused on Nigeria – and probably still largely is – but beyond this specific agenda, some affiliations and actions can be undertaken with some other groups such as AQIM, as its been the case for the hostage-taking in Cameron last march. Besides, the MOJWA is largely centered on Mauritania. However, members of this organization have recently been arrested in Burkina Faso and their presence in the country may probably be the sign of their will to extend their domain of action. On the other hand, at the head of Ansar Eddine is an Algerian Tuareg, Iyad Ag Gali, whose claimed motivation is to create an Islamic republic going from Nouakchott to Niger. Thus, AQIM and its affiliated groups are only affiliated to a certain extent and, in many ways, their “agreements” are only possible to the extent that it can serve their own specific agenda.
Therefore, if the military intervention in Mali is indeed going to redefine the map of the Islamist threat in the Region, this re-definition is only true to the extent that it gives way to new localized and specific joint actions and other actions that are specific to the organization’s personal agenda. In addition to this lack of unity between the movements must be added another decentralization within the groups themselves with small katibas undertaking actions without the prior approval of the leaders of the organization but that can be claimed by the organization as soon as it serves the agenda and respects the methods of actions. Thus, the new geography of the Islamist threat in the region is in fact characterized by the lack of unity that constitutes the strength of the organizations. In many ways, to the Algerian origins of AQIM and, more largely, Maghrebian origins of Islamism in North Africa is probably going to succeed a new form of Islamist threat, which methods, agenda and organization have, precisely, really little to do with their origins.
The Algerian Civil War of the 1990s, in addition to its strong impact on the Algerian society, has enabled the emergence of Islamist groups in the country and in the broader Sahel. For years, the GSPC remained rather silent despite the undertaking of targeted actions in Algeria, Morocco or Mauritania. However, their growing involvement in illegal traffics in the Sahelian strip, later added to the fall of Gaddafi and the massive flow of weapons and personnel that it led to, enabled their strong empowerment and the taking of northern Mali.
After nearly one year of an actual occupation, their will to further extend their domain of action and prevent the logistical possibility of a military intervention, precisely led to the launch of the French Serval operation. However, this operation rapidly turned into an asymmetric war that is currently being fought and that is likely to be fought in the years to come. With this intervention took place an actual dispersion of the jihadists and the creation of a new geography of the threat that now need to be assessed and understood. The fluidity and informal links between the diverse Islamist groups in North and West Africa do mark the setting of this new geography. To the Algerian origins of the Islamist movement in the Sahel is now going to succeed a new phase of Islamism and it is, therefore, the face of jihadism in North Africa that is indeed going to change.
 International Crisis Group, Mali: Sécuriser, dialoguer et réformer en profondeur, Rapport Afrique no 201, Avril 2013
 The political instability of the Region and the likelihood of a violent political outbreak was a largely shared view before the crisis but to only cite but a few: Cf. Mohammed-Mahmoud Ould Mohammedou, The Rise and Fall of Al Qaeda, Geneva Papers, 2011 or Wolfram Lacher, Organised Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region, Carnegie Papers, September 2012 or Andre Lesage, The evolving Threat of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, Institute For National Strategic Studies, July 2010
 For a detailed reading of the UN 2085 Resolution and its mandate, Cf. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2085(2012)
 It worth mentioning here that the rather descriptive nature of the following paragraphs stems from the conviction that in order to fully answer the proposed question, the analysis of the causes and sources of jihadism in the Sahel was needed. This descriptive nature therefore participates to the will of a larger analysis.
 International Crisis Group, Islamism, Violence and Reform in Algeria: Turning the Page, Middle East Report N.29, July 2004
 Samir Amghar, Les Islamistes au défi du pouvoir, Michalon Editions, 2012, p35
 Luiz Martinez, La guerre civile en Algérie: 1990-1998, Karthala Editions, 1999
 Carnegie Papers, The Paranoid Neighbor. Algeria and the Conflict in Mali, Middle-East Paper, October 2012
 Luiz Martinez, The Libyan Paradox, Columbia University Press, 2007, p.98
 Karl-G Prasse, The Tuaregs: The Blue People, Museum Tusculanum Press, 1995
 International Crisis Group, Divided We Stand: Libya’s Enduring Conflicts, Middle East Report N.130, 14 September 2012
 Report of the Secretary general on the United Nations Mission Support in Libya, February 2013, available at: http://unsmil.unmissions.org/Portals/unsmil/Documents/S_2013_104%20Report%20of%20SG%20on%20Libya%20(Feb%202013).pdf
 Karl-G Prasse, The Tuaregs: The Blue People, Museum Tusculanum Press, 1995
 For a detailed timeline of the crisis in the Sahel, Cf. http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/chronology/malisahel.php
 Gilles Kepel, Les matins de France Culture, Mars 2013
 For a detailed analysis of the operations in Mali, Cf. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/world/mali-war-timeline/index.html
 Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Understanding Al-Qaeda, Changing war and Global Politics, Pluto Press, 2011
 Stephen Baier, Trans-Saharan Trade in the Sahel: 1870-1930, Journal of African History, 1977
 Wolfram Lacher, Organised Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region, Carnegie Papers, September 2012, p.7
 Wolfram Lacher, Organised Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region, The Carnegie Papers, September 2012
 Serge Daniel, L’industrie de l’enlèvement, Fayard, 2012
 P.Collier, Doing Well Out of War: An Economic Perspective, Lynne Rienner Publisher, 2000
 Wolfram Lacher, Organised Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region, Carnegie Papers, September 2012
 Stephen Harmon, From GSPC to AQIM, Concerned Africa Scholars, Bulletin 85, 2010
 Modibo Goita, West Africa’s Growing Terrorist Threat: Confronting AQIM’s Sahelian Strategy, Africa Security Brief, February 2011
 Gilles Kepel, Les matins de France Culture, March 2013
 Jérémie Baruch, Qui soutient la France au Mali, Le Monde, Janvier 2013
 Mohammed Mahmoud Ould Mohammedou, The rise and Fall of Al Qaeda, Geneva Paper, 2011
 Gilles Kepel, Les matins de France Culture, March 2013
 For a deeper analysis of the MOJWA, cf. http://www.ict.org.il/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=t-Wxlk_5UvE%3d&tabid=380