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YG - IOB Seminar - Islamist rule in Gao (2012)

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Yvan Guichaoua

on 31 March 2017

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Transcript of YG - IOB Seminar - Islamist rule in Gao (2012)

Islamist rule in Gao (2012)
Models of rebel rule
An emerging field in comparative politics
Central puzzle
Why do some rebel groups loot and destroy while others build orders and deliver public services to populations?

Two original propositions
1) Wars produce order
2) Civilians are not bystanders (information sharing, sticky prewar institutions, norms etc.). How much do we really know?
An emerging field... yet not so new
Why not so new? Intersections with other fields

1) History of colonial empires (indirect rule v direct rule)
2) State governance, corruption, personal rule, 'para-sovereignty', "negotiated statehood"
3) Vigilantism (often tolerated by the state)
How are decisions formed?
Modeling variation in wartime orders
Ana Arjona
Zachariah Mampilly
- Factors from within (aims, ideologies...)
- Factors from outside (diaspora, foreign interveners)
- Factors from below (
state penetration

Where we contribute
--> Unpacking ad hoc hypotheses
--> Reconnecting militancy with social dynamics
--> Historicising the approach
Northern Mali 2012: a not so subversive islamist takeover
2011-13. A dramatic sequence of events
Jan 2012
May 2012
May 2012 - Jan 2013
Jan 2013
Our puzzle
1. How did the MUJAO (and AQIM offshoot) drive out the MNLA?
2. How did they rule?
Our hypothesis
The complex web of authorities which ruled Gao in 2012 is the informal prewar governance system rebranded
2003. Algeria expels Islamist hardliners. GSPC becomes AQIM and starts a highly profitable hostage-taking business

Since the mid-2000s: re-routing of cocaine trade via Africa --> AQIM extorts taxes from convoys crossing the territory it controls

Both businesses involve high-level middlemen /officials, many of them belong to the Arab
tribe. These Lamhar traders rise quickly in the North's political economy
The endogenous production of AQIM. AQIM is a big money-making machine
At Independence (1960): Northern Tuareg elites’ against inclusion into Mali

1963 fierce repression

Exile and activism abroad (Libya, Algeria)

1990s: rebellion

Mid-1990s: division among Tuareg groups and pervasive communal violence

Post-conflict: Failed attempt at decentralisation, murky role of Iyad Ag Ghaly

2006: violence resumes (Bahanga)
The endogenous production of AQIM. AQIM is a key proxy in the state's attempt at imposing 'hegemony on a shoestring' over its turbulent periphery 1/2
State response to Bahanga: arming non Tuareg (Arab) or subaltern Tuareg groups while continuing business with AQIM

--> Just before the war in Libya breaks out and the ensuing revival of Tuareg nationalist insurgency, Northern Mali's political landscape is made of a a complex web of criminalised elites from various groups (inc. jihadists), remotely controlled by central authorities
The endogenous production of AQIM. AQIM is a key proxy in the state's attempt at imposing 'hegemony on a shoestring' over its turbulent periphery 1/2
Apr 2012
The army has vanished

The city is disputed between Tuareg separatists and Jihadis

Les civils, c'est comme un ballon de foot entre nous et les Islamistes
(MNLA leader mai 2012)

High level politics
. Notabilities use MUJAO as a vehicle of a reactionary counter-revolution. Alliance between MUJAO and commercial elites: largely the product of prewar governance by proxies

Grassroots politics
. The instrumentalisation of security concerns and the 'detribalisation' of tensions

So what happens in Gao in April to June 2012 then?
Dorothée Thiénot
Marc-André Boisvert
Full transcript