Questions on Mali

Terrorist attacks in Algeria and French military operations in Mali have raised questions about the impact of ongoing unrest in West Africa on the United States. Al Qaeda’s affiliate there, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), appears to be taking advantage of the situation, and may be further bolstered by Islamist groups now operating out of northern Mali.

On January 11, the French unexpectedly began a military operation combating Islamist groups in northern Mali, which include AQIM, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), and Ansar al Din. Over two thousand French troops have been deployed under Operation Serval. France’s move accelerated the deployment of up to 3,300 regional African troops to Mali, a peacekeeping mission approved by the UN Security Council on December 20. As of yesterday, an estimated 700-800 African troops are in Mali, and many more are in the process of rapid deployment to support the Chapter VII mission.

Initial successes in rolling back the territory held by AQIM, MUJWA, and Ansar al Din since the start of the French military operation are heartening. But there are questions that need to be answered.

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About the Author

 

Katherine
Zimmerman
  • Katherine Zimmerman is a senior analyst and the al Qaeda and Associated Movements Team Lead for the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project. Her work has focused on al Qaeda’s affiliates in the Gulf of Aden region and associated movements in western and northern Africa. She specializes in the Yemen-based group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, al Shabaab. Katherine has testified in front of Congress and briefed Members and congressional staff, as well as members of the defense community. She has written analyses of U.S. national security interests related to the threat from the al Qaeda network for the Weekly Standard, National Review Online, and the Huffington Post, among others. Katherine graduated with distinction from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science and Modern Middle East Studies.


     


    Follow Katherine Zimmerman on Twitter.

  • Phone: (202) 828-6023
    Email: katherine.zimmerman@aei.org

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