Decentralization, counterinsurgency and conflict recurrence: a study of the Tuareg uprisings in Mali and Niger
Westerfield, Brian S.
Lawson, Letitia L.
Mensch, Eugene M., II
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This thesis undertakes a comparative study of Mali and Niger to determine possible differences that may have influenced the path of the 2012 Tuareg rebellion. Specifically, it seeks to determine if (1) the degree of governmental decentralization achieved after multiple peace agreements led to less government control in one country over the other, and (2) the counterinsurgency strategies applied by each country during previous rebellions could have led the rebels to believe Mali would be a softer target to attack than Niger. The evidence indicates that despite an earlier start and an intense public relations campaign, Mali did not achieve a significantly different level of decentralization than Niger by 2011, removing it as a possible influence on the 2012 rebellion. Both countries created new community level governments charged with administering all aspects of civil services but lacked the revenue to operate without international assistance. The difference in counterinsurgency strategies between the two countries, however, is stark. Malis habitual willingness to compromise with past rebel groups contrasts greatly with Nigers insistence on seeking a military solution to conflicts, giving the 2012 rebels a logical indication of where success would be more likely.
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