Conflict and Fragility


The origins of the crisis in Mali

23 Dec 2014 - 14:23

Within the international community, disagreements remain regarding the “real “origins of the 2012 Malian crisis, its gravity and, by extension, the preferred conflict resolution mechanisms. While some regard the crisis as an unfortunate succession of events, others refer to long-term conditions of the state institutions, elite behaviour and structural inequalities as the primary foundation of the recent instability. CRU aims to contribute to a common narrative on the crisis by means of a comprehensive analysis of the multiple factors of instability and conflict in Mali and the broader region. This research highlights past and contemporary factors that could explain and contextualize the crisis that destabilized Mali in 2012. It also provides an endogenous perspective on stabilization in the country and highlights the regional weaknesses that precipitated the 2012 outburst.

More specifically, it addresses questions such as :

•    How can we explain the collapse of Mali, once considered as a “poster child for democracy” in Africa?

•    Are the 2012 events in northern Mali similar to previous Tuareg rebellions? Is the presence of terrorist groups in the north a game changer?

•    Was the international community aware of the Malian weaknesses before the crisis?

•    More generally, what are the main explanatory factors of the crisis on the political, economic, security, religious and societal levels?

The “origins of the crisis“ analysis can be regarded as a baseline study that guides further in-depth CRU research into areas such as judicial reform, organised crime, peacekeeping and the regional dimension of the crisis.


This area of research features the following publications and events


Mali reportReport
The roots of Mali's conflict: Moving beyond the 2012 crisis
(13 April, 2015)


A snapshot of Mali three years after the 2012 crisis
(8 June, 2015)

The roots of Mali's conflict: Moving beyond the 2012 crisis
(13 April, 2015)

Bamako’s new government: Implications for Mali and the North-South reconciliation process
(20 February, 2015)

Mali: kruitvat van wapens en grieven
(6 June, 2014)


Development and security in the Sahel
(20 and 21 May 2015, The Hague - The Netherlands)

Conference - After the Malian crisis: security and stabilization in the Sahel
(12 March 2015, Bamako - Mali)

Informal meeting on the Sahel with EUSR Michel Reveyrand de Menthon 
(29 October 2014, The Hague - The Netherlands)

Security in the Sahel - Braintorm meeting together with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) 
(3 October 2014, The Hague - The Netherlands)