This development comes at a time when France is preparing to withdraw its forces from the African Sahel region participating in the “Barkhane” operation, amid news of the Malian government’s intention to replace the French forces with the Russian “Wagner” forces.
Informed sources told “Sky News Arabia” that the Islamic Supreme Council of Mali will enter into discussions with Iyad Ag Ghali, head of the “Supporting Islam and Muslims” group affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, in addition to the head of the “Masina” group Amadou Koufa. She explained that the selection of these two groups by the Islamic Supreme Council is in line with the wishes expressed during the comprehensive national dialogue in 2019, which the transitional authorities now wish to implement.
The writer and political analyst from Mali, Ibrahim Saleh, explained that terrorist groups in Mali are divided into two parts. The first part is related to the terrorists coming from outside the country, such as the supporters of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, who brought extremist ideology to Mali, and the second part is related to the groups that left the country. Among the Malian people are the likes of “Victory of Islam”.
Saleh added, in statements to “Sky News Arabia” – that the second type of terrorist group is the one that aims to co-opt the military council in Mali, after he reached the conviction that a military solution and armed confrontations will not lead to a decisive outcome with terrorist groups, pointing to The killings, kidnappings, robberies and bombings have become almost daily and are no longer news.
The editor-in-chief of the “Akhbar al-Sahel” website added that the talk about the authorities in Mali signing an agreement with the “Wagner Group” proves that betting on the presence of French forces is a failed bet, and we have examples and examples in many West African countries.
Mali’s Prime Minister, Shogul Kokala Maiga, had accused France of abandoning his country in the middle of the road, due to its withdrawal of its forces and the end of the “Barkhane” operation in the African Sahel region, expressing his regret for the unilateral declaration by Paris, justifying his country’s search for other partners after the French withdrawal. In reference to cooperation with “Wagner”-.
In his speech to the United Nations, Koukala added that the new situation that has arisen due to the end of the “Barkhane” mission, which puts Mali in front of a fait accompli and exposes it to a kind of abandonment in the middle of the road, leads us to explore ways and means to better ensure security with other partners. .
points of contention
For his part, Mali’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Mamadou Kony, said in press statements that negotiating with some terrorist groups has become a popular demand, adding that this matter was on the table even before the transitional period that Mali entered in 2019, noting that the government is taking the matter this time. Seriously to put an end to terrorist operations in the country.
In a related context, Mowa Haidara, the negotiating official within the Islamic Supreme Council, confirmed that negotiations with armed groups will witness a wide participation by the United Nations High Commissioner.
Haidara added that there are some controversial points that will be discussed during the first phase of the negotiations, most notably: “freedom of movement, the obligation to wear the veil, the collection of zakat and the achievement of transitional justice,” noting that the frameworks for discussing the red lines were not defined during this stage.
map of terrorist groups
The European Center for Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Studies published a study that identified the patterns of terrorist groups in Mali. It indicated that the first stage of the emergence of terrorist groups in the Malian desert was at the end of the nineties of the last century, when a number of terrorists fled from Algeria to northern Mali, and began to operate Soon fighters from Mauritania, Mali and Niger joined them.
As for the second phase, it begins in 2007, when the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) joined Al-Qaeda, which later changed its name to Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, and shifted the loyalty of armed groups in the Greater Sahara that were affiliated with the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat In Algeria, to al-Qaeda, and the second period between 2007 and 2012 witnessed a series of terrorist operations against the countries of the region in general, with a clear expansion of attacks in Mali in particular.
Ansar al-Din movement.
It is considered the largest terrorist organization in northern Mali, and it seeks to secede under the pretext of establishing an Islamic state that implements Sharia. It is one of the armed terrorist movements that joined the so-called “Group to Support Islam and Muslims” in 2017. The movement was founded by Iyad Ag Ghali in December 2011 in the city of Kidalt, located In northern Mali, he is one of the Tuareg leaders who fought an armed rebellion against the Malian government in the 1990s, before he signed a peace agreement between his former movement, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MPLA) and the central government in 1992.
Massena Liberation Movement
It is a terrorist organization, which relies on ethnic terrorism in Mali, and most of its elements are from the “Liberation of Azawad” movement, which includes the various components of the ethnic Azawad, which separated from the movement and joined the terrorist “Ansar Dine” movement in 2012, and includes hundreds of fighters from the “So-and-so” minority.
The question that remains on the table during the next stage is whether the approach between the Malian government and terrorist groups will succeed this time, ending one of the longest episodes of the war on terrorism in the Maghreb and the African coast, or will the negotiations result in another situation.