The roots of Mali’s conflict
Grégory Chauzal
Thibault van Damme
MARCH 2015
The roots of Mali’s conflict
Moving beyond the 2012 crisis
CRU Report
The Sahel Programme is supported by
Nationale Postcode Loterij

About the roots of Mali’s conflict report

This report constitutes the first research pillar of the new Maghreb-Sahel Programme of the Clingendael Institute’s Conflict Research Unit, sponsored by the Dutch Nationale Postcode Loterij. It analyses the deep roots of the 2012 Malian conflict and explores the consequences of this crisis on Sahel stability and international involvement in the region. Despite several initiatives (Algerian mediation, joint efforts by the international community), the situation on the ground remains highly tense and is now threatening the stability of the entire region.

This in-depth study explores the long-term drivers of the Malian conflict and aims to highlight emerging trends that could question the effectiveness of international efforts in the Sahel.


The authors would like to thank all their colleagues from the Clingendael Institute’s Conflict Research Unit, especially Rosan Smits, Ivan Briscoe, Jort Hemmer and Mariska van Beijnum for their invaluable assistance during and after the editing of this paper. We also want to acknowledge Janny Krayema for her outstanding availability regarding our numerous queries on articles and books. Very special thanks go to Virginie Baudais for her thoughtful peer review and the very high quality of her expert inputs. Finally, thanks for editing go to Paula McDiarmid and for typesetting to Textcetera. The contents of the report remain the authors’ responsibility.

About the authors

Grégory Chauzal is a senior research fellow at Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit. He specialises in Mali/Sahel issues and develops the Maghreb-Sahel Programme for the Institute.

Thibault Van Damme works for Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit as a project assistant for the Maghreb-Sahel Programme.

Cover photo

A Malian soldier patrols in Kidal – July 2013

© UN Mission in Mali