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Commentary: Sergei Boeke discusses security in Mali

15 Dec 2014 - 12:00
Source: Ansar al-Din threat stokes Sahel fears - Flickr / Magharebia

Sergei Boeke, Research Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT)/ The Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism (CTC), closely follows the security situation in Mali. Please find links to his assessments in relation to the fluid nature of jihadist groups in the RUSI Journal (English) and Clingendael Magazine Internationale Spectator (Dutch) as well as to the long-term effect of the French operation ‘Serval’ (English), which was published by Taylor & Francis.  

Mali's long road ahead
By Sergei Boeke and Antonin Tisseron
Operation Serval, the eighteen-month mission mounted by France to oust jihadists from northern Mali, came to an end in August 2014. However, despite the transition into a broader, region-wide operation to counter terrorism, both UN and French troops remain focused on securing Mali and targeting jihadists still operating within the country's borders. Sergei Boeke and Antonin Tisseron warn against the temptation to treat the jihadists as a homogenous group with common goals and modi operandi, instead highlighting the multiple fractures within the myriad, smaller factions that must be addressed if stability is to be restored to Mali.

Van ‘Serval’ naar ‘Barkhane’: contraterrorisme in de Sahel
By Sergei Boeke
Operatie ‘Serval’, nu bijna twee jaar geleden, was een indrukwekkende militaire missie, waarbij de Franse special forces de terroristische jihadisten, o.a. AQIM, die noord-Mali in bezit hadden, een gevoelige slag toebrachten. Maar geleidelijk aan is de veiligheidssituatie in noord-Mali verslechterd, terwijl het Malinese leger, momenteel getraind door een EU-missie, nog weinig presteert. Tegen de achtergrond van dit veiligheidsvacuüm heeft Parijs nu besloten de operatie ‘Barkhane’ te lanceren.

Operation ‘Serval’: A Strategic Analysis of the French Intervention in Mali, 2013–2014
By Sergei Boeke and Bart Schuurman
This article provides an assessment of France’s political and military aims in Mali and the degree to which they have been attained. Clear political goals, coordinated international diplomacy, an effective use of military force and blunders by the rebel forces turned ‘Serval’ into a short-term success. Strategically, however, the mission has proven unable to address the conflict’s underlying causes. Serval’s long-term effect is probably better measured by what it prevented than what it contributed.