chapter  8
25 Pages

Competing orders in cross-border areas of limited statehood

The cases of southern Tunisia and northern Mali micro-regions
WithEdoardo Baldaro, Giulia Cimini

This chapter compares emerging cross-border dynamics in two micro-regions, Tunisia’s southeastern border and northern Mali, characterized by several elements that point to the infringement of the central authority’s capacity to implement decisions and effective state control, thus depicting situations typical of areas of limited statehood. Among those features, the peculiar nature of the mostly desert borders represent a natural obstacle to patrolling for state authorities as well as a challenge for competing non-state actors; the existence of tribal allegiances; the involvement of multiple centers of power; illicit flows of goods (and people) favoring an underground economy; and a widespread sentiment of abandonment among the populace. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, the authors trace the ambivalent relations between central state and peripheral regions and assess the evolution of the security situation and the impact that the 2011 uprisings and the 2013 Malian conflict had in these complex sub-systems.