August 20, 2020

IntelBrief: Military Coup in Mali Raises Concerns about Stability in the Sahel

Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, centre, spokesman for the soldiers identifying themselves as National Committee for the Salvation of the People, speaks during a press conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)

Bottom Line Up Front

  • A military coup in Mali to oust the country’s political leadership has raised prospects of spiraling instability that could result in an opportunity for jihadist groups.
  • The military coup follows demonstrations in Bamako led by a Salafi preacher, who thus far appears not to have played a central role in the coup, but who has attempted to negotiate with jihadist groups in the past.
  • The military coup leader recently visited Russia, raising questions about his training, experience, and contacts and whether the coup will result in Mali reorienting its foreign policy and military alliances away from France.
  • Mali’s last coup in 2012 led to countrywide instability that crossed borders, having spillover effects throughout West Africa.