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YG - DEV Seminar - Jihadi rule in Gao (2012)

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Yvan Guichaoua

on 15 October 2017

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Transcript of YG - DEV Seminar - Jihadi rule in Gao (2012)

Jihadi 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?
Rebel governance. 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?
- How do these dynamics transform societies?
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
--> Historicising the approach
Reconnecting militancy with social dynamics, revisiting what insurgencies are

Northern Mali 2012: a not so subversive jihadi takeover
2011-13. A dramatic sequence of events
Jan 2012
June 2012
June 2012 - Jan 2013
Jan 2013
Our puzzle
2. Rule
3. Resistance
was not military, it's a change in prevailing social compromise
: security provision central to sustainable governance + strategic gradualism
within the Islamic repertoire
--> Processes shaped by 'civilian' agency
2003. Algeria expels Islamist hardliners. GSPC becomes AQIM and starts a highly profitable hostage-taking business, via its specialised branch that would later become MUJAO

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
Where does the MUJAO come from? The business branch of jihadi militancy in Mali
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)
Pre-2012 Northern Mali: militants all over the place...
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 loosely controlled by central authorities, sometimes collaborating with jihadi movements
... some of whom are state proxies
Apr 2012
Gao 2012: The army vanishes

The city is disputed between Tuareg separatists and jihadis. Tuaregs originally have the upper hand

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

Gao's "conquest".
Les civils, c'est comme un ballon de foot entre nous et les Islamistes
(MNLA leader mai 2012)
Dorothée Thiénot
Marc-André Boisvert
Gao's "conquest". Jihadis' strategic feat of June 2012
Our sources. Fragmentary
Tough security restrictions

Indirect collection of primary data

- itws with civilians in different roles in Bamako,
- monitoring of daily news,
- WhatsApp communications,
- MBM papers,
- digital material from smartphones
Full transcript