Mali: From Sanctuary to Islamic State
Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was set up in northern Mali years before the Tuareg rebellion of 2012. A safe haven for its members, this sanctuary allowed the group to raise funds through drug-trafficking and the ransom business. In 2012, AQIM and its local allies took control of northern Mali and attempted to create an Islamic state – an effort which was cut short by the French military intervention in January 2013. Laurent de Castelli dissects the motives which led AQIM to create its sanctuary in northern Mali before 2012, its drive to establish an Islamic state with the support of its allies, and the reasons behind this evolution.