Why the U.S. Needs a Different Approach in Mali

Former Defense Minister Bah N’Daw, right, is sworn in as transitional president, and Col. Assimi Goita, left, head of the junta that staged the August coup, is sworn as transitional vice president, in Bamako, Mali, Sept. 25, 2020 (AP photo).
Former Defense Minister Bah N’Daw, right, is sworn in as transitional president, and Col. Assimi Goita, left, head of the junta that staged the August coup, is sworn as transitional vice president, in Bamako, Mali, Sept. 25, 2020 (AP photo).

The United States has mostly avoided in Africa the costly mistakes it made in Afghanistan and Iraq. If that is to continue, a good understanding of internal developments and issues in African countries will be crucial. Until now, the United States’ primary concern in Mali has been the jihadist insurgency in the northern and central parts of the country. A secondary priority was the promotion of democracy, which translated into an emphasis on regular, credible elections. With the military coup this summer—Mali’s second in less than a decade—and with mounting attacks by jihadists, that policy is not working. The current […]

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