France Welcomes Hostages Home After Three-Year Wait

Four French citizens, held hostage in North Africa by Al-Qaeda for three years, returned to their families in an emotional reunion in Paris on Wednesday. President François Hollande greeted the four men — all of them bearded, careworn, and nervous, but otherwise not visibly harmed — on the tarmac. Long-separated friends and families tearfully embraced […]

Mali Extradites French Jihad Suspect

Alleged French jihadist Gilles Le Guen, also known by the nom de guerre Abdel Jelil, arrived in France on May 14 after his capture in northern Mali last month. According to Le Monde, Le Guen, a 58-year-old merchant navy veteran, was seized in a French special forces raid on the northern outskirts of Timbuktu, on […]

Transitioning from AFISMA to a United Nations Stabilization Operation MINUSMA

Thursday April 25, the Security Council of the United Nations unanimously approved a resolution put forward by the French government to bring in a UN peacekeeping force for Mali as of the July 1. Within the next 60 days the UN shall determine the area’s state of security is adequate to allow for their deployment […]

Violent Clashes and a New Successor in the Wake of Confirmation of Abou Zeid’s Death

Towards the end of February, covert operations in Mali’s northern mountains of Ifoghas resulted in the death of around forty terrorists. Rumors have been floating around the Internet about the identity of the bodies. While French authorities have been reluctant to confirm any of these rumors, a month after the attack Paris has finally confirmed […]

Mali Neverending: French Hostage Believed to be Executed by Al Qaeda

Families of French citizens held hostage in Africa are continuing to try to get as much information they can regarding the state of their loved ones. “No one tells us anything, [not] the French side, no one says anything, the jihadists do not speak anymore, that’s to say that we are totally in the dark, […]

France Announces Plans to Pull Troops out of Mali

French President François Hollande announced Wednesday, March 6 that France would begin moving troops out of Mali as early as April of this year, a month later than was originally planned.  Hollande stated that an UN-backed African coalition would take over once the withdrawal was complete, though French presence would remain strong through March and into […]

Death of Islamist Militant Leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar Unconfirmed in Mali Attack

Following a joint attack by the Chadian and French armies in Adrar des Ifoghas in North Mali Saturday, March 2 2013, Mokhtar Belmokhtar was pronounced to be amongst those killed.  However, conflicting reports have kept the former Al-Qaeda leader’s death from being confirmed Sunday, March 3. These accounts come on the heels of a raid on […]

French Authorities Tread Lightly as Others Confirm Death of Al-Qaeda Leader

The cyber world is afloat with rumors. Is Abou Zeid dead? According to Algerian television and Chadian President Idriss Debry, Abou Zeid, leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has died in a French military operation along with 42 other al-Qaeda terrorists. French authorities have yet to comment and corroborate that DNA tests confirmed […]

Guide to the Conflict in Mali: Part 2

Continued from Part 1 of La Jeune Politique’s Guide to the Conflict in Mali WHY MALI? AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) is a foreign force — the soldiers are not Malian and they apply a radical version of Charia law, a practice alien to the local people and to Malian culture. Many occurrences […]

Guide to the Conflict in Mali: Part 1

HOW WE GOT HERE Since gaining its independence from France in 1960, Mali has been dealing with northern Tuareg separatist movements. This ethnically Arabic group roams the desert in the north of the country and has rebelled many times in hopes of obtaining independence for what they call “the country of Azawad.” Their chance came […]