chapter  9
The long path to MINUSMA: assessing the international response to the crisis in Mali
ByLORI - ANNE THÉROUX - BÉNONI
Pages 19

The complex and multidimensional crisis in Mali has put regional, continental and international security arrangements through a tough test. Multilateral responses to the outbreak of the armed Tuareg secessionist rebellion of January 2012, the coup d’état of March 2012 and the subsequent occupation of northern Mali by a mixture of terrorist, extremist and criminal groups clearly lacked direction, coherence and coordination. The broad support received by the French Operation “Serval”, launched in January 2013 to counter the offensive of the Northern armed groups, was illustrative of the absence of credible and timely alternatives to respond to the threat. This situation, in turn, revealed the shortcomings of the existing security architecture at the level of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the UN, as well as weaknesses in their interactions. In tracing the evolving international response to the situation in Mali, from the March 2012 coup to the April 2013 authorization of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), this chapter explores the shortcomings of current multilateral security frameworks and draws lessons, in order to address more effectively the changing nature of threats to peace and security in Africa.1