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A man sits near a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a demonstration in Bamako, Mali, on Feb. 19 celebrating France’s announcement that it will withdraw its troops from the country.
A man sits near a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a demonstration in Bamako, Mali, on Feb. 19 celebrating France’s announcement that it will withdraw its troops from the country.

Russia Flounders in Ukraine but Doubles Down in Mali

Russian mercenaries fill Mali vacuum as European powers pursue an exit.

A protester walks a camel painted in the colors of the French flag during a mass demonstration to protest sanctions imposed on Mali by the Economic Community of West African States in Bamako, Mali, on Jan. 14.
A protester walks a camel painted in the colors of the French flag during a mass demonstration to protest sanctions imposed on Mali by the Economic Community of West African States in Bamako, Mali, on Jan. 14.

Mali’s Military Doubles Down as Junta Ousts Burkina Faso’s President

West Africa is rocked by yet another coup as the military seizes power in Ouagadougou and holds onto control in Bamako.

Russian and African presidents pose at a Russia-Africa summit.
Russian and African presidents pose at a Russia-Africa summit.

Who Blessed the Vlads Down in Africa?

Russia’s Wagner Group has its eyes on Mali. It fits a pattern of Russian interference in Africa.

France’s military drawdown in the Sahel is announced.
France’s military drawdown in the Sahel is announced.

France Bids Adieu to Its Military Mission in West Africa

But banishing the neocolonial approach is easier said than done.

French President Emmanuel Macron at a G5 Sahel summit.
French President Emmanuel Macron at a G5 Sahel summit.

Washington Scrambles France’s Mali Exit Strategy

Paris wants out of the quagmire. Biden’s not offering any lifelines.

People wash clothes and rams in the Bani River in Mopti, Mali, on March 19.
People wash clothes and rams in the Bani River in Mopti, Mali, on March 19.

How Climate Change Drives Conflict in Mali

Military solutions won’t end terrorism in the Sahel. Addressing the environmental factors destroying livelihoods and fueling extremist groups’ recruitment could.

Members of the Koglweogo, a self-defense militia, attend an annual gathering in Siguinvousé, Burkina Faso, on Feb 14.
Members of the Koglweogo, a self-defense militia, attend an annual gathering in Siguinvousé, Burkina Faso, on Feb 14.

Biden’s Strategy in the Sahel Looks a Lot Like Trump’s

U.S. diplomacy is back in West Africa—but the United States is also back to its old counterterrorism playbook.

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africa-us-foreign-policy-kingsley-nebechi-illustration-article

How to Restore U.S. Credibility in Africa

By standing up for democracy and free trade, the United States can outflank China and Russia, its authoritarian rivals on the continent.

Senegalese soldiers from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, on July 24, 2019, a day after suicide bombers in a vehicle painted with U.N. markings injured several troops and civilians in an attack on an international peacekeeping base in Mali.
Senegalese soldiers from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, on July 24, 2019, a day after suicide bombers in a vehicle painted with U.N. markings injured several troops and civilians in an attack on an international peacekeeping base in Mali.

Peacekeeping Missions and a Marshall Plan Won’t Save Mali

The country needs stronger institutions to bolster public confidence in the democratic system. The international community can help.

The French Army patrols a rural area in northern Burkina Faso on Nov. 14, 2019.
The French Army patrols a rural area in northern Burkina Faso on Nov. 14, 2019.

France and the United States Are Making West Africa’s Security Situation Worse

France’s unilateralism and the United States’ wavering are destabilizing the Sahel—and creating an opening for Russia and China.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the virtual Republican convention in a pre-recorded video from Jerusalem, Israel, on Aug. 25.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the virtual Republican convention in a pre-recorded video from Jerusalem, Israel, on Aug. 25.

Is Trump Touting His Diplomatic Achievements to Get Reelected?

Both parties have featured speeches from key diplomats at their conventions, with Mike Pompeo making a controversial cameo at the RNC—but they aren’t proposing much that’s new.

ECOWAS mediator and former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrives to lead talks with West African envoys and Mali's military junta on Aug. 24 in Bamako, Mali.
ECOWAS mediator and former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrives to lead talks with West African envoys and Mali's military junta on Aug. 24 in Bamako, Mali.

The African Union’s Hypocrisy Undermines Its Credibility

The AU’s double standard on lifelong leaders who reject term limits undercuts its moral standing to reject military coups.

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Mali-coup-mutiny-Ibrahim-Boubacar-Keita-Boubou-Cissé-Assimi-Goita

Can Mali Escape Its Past?

Politics in the country have followed familiar cycles of violence and collapse.

Malian soldiers in the capital of Mali after a military coup.
Malian soldiers in the capital of Mali after a military coup.

Coup Plotters in Mali Were Trained by U.S. Military

The overthrow, swiftly condemned by the U.S. government, could pose a setback in the regional fight against extremist groups.

Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff Ismael Wague speaks during a press conference in Kati, Mali on August 19.
Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff Ismael Wague speaks during a press conference in Kati, Mali on August 19.

Mali Needs a Marshall Plan, Not a Military Regime

American, French, and West African leaders must pressure the army to stand down and form an interim government, before a power vacuum and violent extremism threaten the entire region.

Malian soldiers drive through the streets of Bamako on August 19, the day after mutinying troops seized Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Malian soldiers drive through the streets of Bamako on August 19, the day after mutinying troops seized Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

A Coup Won’t End Mali’s Corruption and Insecurity

Replacing the president won’t resolve the country’s deep-seated political problems. If neighboring nations and global powers don’t demand a democratic transition, it could lead to greater instability across West Africa.

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