Mali's Next Battle: Improving Counterterrorism Capabilities
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA
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This report examines Malis counterterrorism requirements in light of recent evolutions in the countrys security environment. In spite of the achievements of France, the United Nations, and the European Union, the terrorist threat in Mali is growing, but Malis military remains largely ineffective. Part of the challenge is the interconnected nature of Malis terrorist problem and the political strife that afflicts Malis northern half, which the peace agreement signed in Algiers in June 2015 only somewhat addresses. Moreover, the governments response remains focused to an inappropriate degree on acquiring the military capabilities it hopes will help redress the balance of power in the North while leveraging proxy ethnic militias. These militias, though more effective on the battlefield than Malis own forces, aggravate northern Malis instability. The report argues that it is not possible to strengthen Malis counterterrorism capabilities in isolation from its general military capabilities, which are in need of fundamental reforms. Such reforms should include making the armed forces more inclusive of minority groups and more attentive to relations with northern communities, improving the effectiveness and accountability of defense institutions, building human capital and leadership, and enhancing operational capabilities. In all cases, the United States must coordinate its efforts with the other actors on the ground in Mali, especially the French and the European Union, to ensure complementarity.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare