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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Al Qaeda Makes a New Show of Force In Northen Mali

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:


MALI
 


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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.



TAG:  The resurgence of militant Islam from the desert north continues a pattern occasionally repeated since the arrival of  Islam from the Berbers of the Maghreb north in 1000 AD.


IN THE NEWS:  Jan 23, 2013: In the bloodiest battle since French forces intervened last year, African troops engage Al Qaeda-linked fighters of the "Movement for Oneness and Jihad" in the mountains of northeastern Mali bordering on Algeria.

-The Al Qaeda group MOJ shows the touchest resitance since French-African troops flushed them out of Tumbuktu and Gai weeks ago.
-Chadian intervention forces sustain the heaviest losses along with the enemy, the Al Qaeda-linked MOJ
-French forces launch new operations against Islamists who are stilled believed to hold French hostages in the north.
-France is planning to hand military operations over to African troops at the  moment of a probable resurgence of Al Qaeda.
-Fighters of the Taureg MNLA also back the French-African offensive.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 

-Islamic rule and Islamic holy war have been a sporadic feature throughout the region's history.
-since 2003, Islamist groups have been destabilizing the Sahel, the long strip of the arid  southern Sahara that runs from the Atlantic to Sudan; the Sahel includes includes Mali, Mauretania, Ghana, and Niger among other countries.
-ethnic Taureg in northern Mali have waged a fight against the government, sometimes framed as holy war, but more often a struggle for rights and recognition. After a brief alliance with Al Qaeda, they came to consider ultra radical Islam the larger enemy.



-Only with the arrival of a unified Islamist force, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) in 2009, did the conflict begin to receive internatiomnal attention with the prospect of collapse of regional authority that could produce failed states like Afghanistan and Somalia -ripe for Islamist rule.
-international concern increased in 2010 as Mauretanian troops backed by French forces launched operations in Northern Mali.
-it was the spring of 2012 that really brought Mali into the spotlight after the elected civilian government was overthrown in a military coup, raising the spectre of internal instability in the face of an Islamist insurgency.
-by the end of the year, the AQIM-linked Islamists had destroyed ancient Muslim tombs and manuscripts, wreaking havoc in the north and prompting the United Nations,  France and African countries to launch a combined offensive agains the rebels in northern Mali.
-the offensive was successful until recently when the rebels began to return in force.

IN HISTORY: 

Islam was brought to Mali and the surrounging region by Moroccan Bebers in about 1000 AD. Islamic states, institutions and centres of learning in the Sahel grew rich on the trans Sahara trade in gold and slaves with caravan routes stretching from Cairo and Damascus to the Atlantic; and from Morocco to the Gold Coast. Most conflicts involving Mali were ethnic or dynastic struggles between local powers or invasions like the conquest which brought the region under Moroccan rule in 1042 and again during the 17th and 18th centuries. 

        In the years following the collapse of Moroccan rule in the 18th century, Islamic Holy or War or Jihad returned to fill the vaccuum as self-governing ethnic groups were made into local theocracies.  But Jihad resurfaced in force only in the mid-19th century as France began to penetrate North Africa and gradually to colonize the Sahel including Mali.
 As French colonial rule became established, local resistance tended increasingly to be political rather than religious. With the all-encompassing belief in modernity that pervaded the world in the 20th century, protest in Mali and elsewhere took democratic or nationalist form. With Malian independence in the early 1960s, democracy weakened as Mali followed the African trend of the one party state bolstered by Afro-Arab secular nationalism. Islamic radicalism began to reappear among Mali's ethnic Taureg. However defense of Taureg identity would often supersede religious goals. In 1991, Mali reinstituted democracy. But once again its fragility and the instability brought by military intervention in the government was cause for alarm, especially with the upsurge of Islamic militancy after the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

RELEVANT THEMES: One might argue that geography has kept the Sahel region inherently unstable from the beginning. An absence of natural boundaries, the thin distribution of population and natural resources and the traditional reliance on trade created a situation in which violence and change tended to be internal with power centres based on local cities or ethnic groups simply replacing one another to build new empires.


 The only significant force to arrive from outside was Islam which almost always came down from the desert north. The artificial boundaries imposed on the region by Western colonial powers afyer 1850 have left the larger and older situation essentially unchanged, especially after the end of an equally artificial peace that came with the conclusion of the Cold War in 1989.  History once again has returned from the north an upsurge of Islamist militancy.  Islam had came from the north in 1000 AD and so did the Morroccan invasions of 1042 and 1591. The militant Islam that is arriving from the Maghreb, once again, isn't quite continuous with the past but does form a very definite broken line from 1000 AD.


CONTENTS

SCROLL DOWN FOR:
-RELEVANT DATES
-SUMMARY OF MALI HISTORY
-CURRENT EVENTS
-MALI- 1991-2010
-MALI 1959-1991
-MALI 1866-1959
-MALI- 400-1866
-TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF MALI

RELEVANT DATES:

1000 AD- Islam introduced to the region by north African Arab and Berber traders. Rise of the Malinke Kingdom of Mali, centered on the upper reaches of the Niger River.
1042-1147- Almoravids impose Islamic rule over an area comprising modern Morocco, Mauretainia, northern Mali, western Algeria and Spain.
1300- The Empire of Mali, which has grown rich on the trans-Saharan gold trade, dominates the West Africa. Region now almost exclusively and the Muslim. Empire of Mali becomes dominant force in the upper Niger basin, its period of greatness.
--on pilgimage to Mecca Mali's King Mansa Musa's wealth and power earns the respect of Arabia, Egypt and the Arab world.
14th-15th centuries - Decline of the Empire of Mali, which loses dominance of the gold trade to the Songhai Empire, which makes its base in Timbuktu - historically important as a focal point of Islamic culture and a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route.
1591 Songhay Empire defeated by Moroccan invasion. Moroccans make Timbuktu their capital and rule until their decline in the 18th century.
19th century - French colonial advance andFula and Toucouleur (Tukolor ) jihads spread across region. Various theocratic states formed.
-Prior to the period of French colonialism, each of 12 ethnic groups
1850 Al-Haji Umar, Islamic reformer of the Toucouleur caliphate, conquers region.
1866 Beginning of the French conquest of Mali
1894- Tuareg rebels declare a jihad against the French following their occupation of the city of Tombouctou in January.
1895 Mali now becomes colony of Soudan Français (French Sudan).
1990- The "Second Tuareg Rebellion" broke out, a struggle to liberate a region in the north from the Malian government.
2003 August - Clashes between rival Muslim groups in west kill at least 10 people.
2004 - US Special Forces began training local troops in Mauritania and Mali under a program called the Pan-Sahel Initiative. The program was renamed the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative and taken over by Marines, who extended the training to Chad and Niger.
2005 June, The Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative began operations. The US funded plan intended to provide military equipment and development aid to 9 north-east African countries considered fertile ground for Muslim militant groups. Participating countries included Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.
2007 August - Suspected Tuareg rebels abduct government soldiers in separate incidents near the Niger and Algerian borders.
2008 Mar 20, In Mali clashes began around Tinzaouatene, near the Algerian border, as insurgents attacked soldiers clearing mines in what the rebels feared was a prelude to a government offensive. 3 soldiers were killed when their vehicle was blown up by a mine and four captured in combat by the rebels.

2008 May - Tuareg rebels kill 17 soldiers in attack on an army post in the northeast, despite a ceasefire agreed a month earlier.
2008- July 18, In Algeria the government of Mali and ethnic Tuareg rebels reach a truce agreement in dangerous northern Mali. One faction of the Tuareg group refused to sign the deal, saying it did not do enough to help the Tuaregs
2008 December - At least 20 people are killed and several taken hostage in an attack by Tuareg rebels on a military base in northern Mali.
2009 February - Government says the army has taken control of all the bases of the most active Tuareg rebel group. A week later, 700 rebels surrender their weapons in ceremony marking their return to the peace process.
2009 May - Algeria begins sending military equipment to Mali in preparation for a joint operation against Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda.
2009- Jul 4, In Mali dozens of people were killed during clashes in the Timbuktu region between the army and Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters.
2009 August - New law boosts women's rights, prompts some protests.
2010 January - Annual music event - Festival in the Desert - is moved from a desert oasis to Timbuktu because of security fears.
2010- Apr 21, The Algerian Defense Ministry said Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger are opening a joint military headquarters in the Algerian city Tamanrasset, in a united effort to combat terrorism and kidnapping in northwestern Africa. The Committee of Joint Chiefs (CEMOC) was based in Tamanrasset.

France joins the offensive against AQIM.
2010 Jul 24, French-backed Mauritanian military operations against al Qaeda fighters in the Sahara desert wound up after four days of hunting Islamists deep inside Mali.
2010- Sep 17, The Mauritanian army launched an offensive against the North African branch of al-Qaida in neighboring Mali. At least 12 militants died and five Mauritanians were killed in the operation, which was launched inside northern Mali with permission
2011- Jun 24, In northeast Mali a raid by the Mauritanian army on an Al-Qaeda base left 17 dead, including two soldiers.
2011- Aug 26, Mali's most radical Tuareg rebel chief Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, who never agreed to disarm, dies in an accident.

Renewed Taureg unrest.

2011- Aug 28, Security sources said hundreds of armed Tuaregs from Mali and Niger who fought for toppled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi have started to return to their home nations.
2012 January - Fears of new Tuareg rebellion following attacks on northern towns which prompt civilians to flee into Mauritania.
2012 March - Military officers depose President Toure ahead of the April presidential elections, accusing him of failing to deal effectively with the Tuareg rebellion. African Union suspends Mali.
2012 April - Tuareg rebels seize control of northern Mali, declare independence.
-Military hands over to a civilian interim government, led by President Dioncounda Traore.
The Tuareg MNLA and Islamist Ansar Dine rebel groups merge and declare northern Mali to be an Islamic state. Ansar Dine begins to impose Islamic law in Timbuktu. Al-Qaeda in North Africa endorses the deal.
2012 June-July - Ansar Dine and its Al-Qaeda ally turn on the Taureg MNLA and capture the main northern cities of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao, ousting Tuareg rebels after clashes between the once-allied groups.

Islamists destroy Muslim Tombs, strengthen grip on north, advance on south.
June 30: Armed Islamists destroy ancient tombs of Muslim saints that offend their puritan views in the desert city of Timbuktu and threaten to wipe out every religious shrine there. They impose sharia, the strict and often brutal Islamic law.
2012 August - Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra forms a new government of national unity in order to satisfy regional demands for a transition from military-dominated rule. The cabinet of 31 ministers includes five seen as close to coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo.
2012 Autumn-Winter - Northern Islamist rebels consolidate their hold on the north. They seize strategically important town of Douentza in September, crossing into the central part of Mali and closer to the government-held south-west.

UN and ECOWAS agree on joint intervention against rebels.
October 12: The UN Security Council approves a resolution that presses West African nations to speed up preparations for an international military intervention aimed at reconquering northern Mali.
2012 November - The West African regional grouping Ecowas agrees to a coordinated military expedition of up to 3,300 troops for a year to recapture the north, with UN and African Union backing. Preparations are expected to take several months.
2012 December - Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra resigns, allegedly under pressure from army leaders who oppose plans for Ecowas military intervention. President Traore appoints a presidential official, Django Sissoko, to succeed him. The UN and US threaten sanctions.
December 20: The UN Security Council unanimously approves sending an African-led force to help reconquer northern Mali from the Islamist militants. However the Council says all possible diplomatic avenues must be exhausted before force can be used.

France joins intervention
2013 January - Islamist fighters capture the central town of Konna and say they will push further south. President Traore asks France for help and Paris responds by sending troops and carrying out air strikes on rebel bases.
Mali's interim president asks France for help, envoys say, as the UN Security Council calls for the "rapid" deployment of the African-led intervention force.Witnesses say that foreign troops and weapons have begun arriving by transport plane at an army base in Sevare, just 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Konna.

West African nations join intervention.
Nigeria pledges 600 troops while Burkina Faso and Senegal each offer 500 for the regional force tasked with wresting back control of the north.
January 11: Malian government troops launch an offensive against Islamists with backing from France, Nigeria and Senegal, military and political sources say. French President Francois Hollande confirms French troops are actively supporting an offensive by Malian forces against Islamists.
January 12: Mali's army retakes control of Konna after one of the worst clashes with Islamists since the start of the crisis. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announces the death of a French military pilot in the battle. The clashes kill dozens of Islamists, according to the Malian military and witnesses.

January 13: France keeps up airstrikes on Mali, targeting Islamist bases in the northern city of Gao, controlled by the group MUJAO. A top Islamist leader is reported killed.
International support is ramped up as Benin, Togo and Niger all promise additional troop reinforcements and Britain says it will send aircraft for logistical support. Algeria reiterates support for its neighbour to Malian President Diango Cissoko, on a visit to Algiers.
The ECOWAS bloc convenes an emergency summit for January 19.
January 14: Islamists seize the town of Diabaly in government-held territory, 250 miles north of the capital. They vow to "strike at the heart of France".
- French warplanes pound Islamist positions in the town of Douentza in central Mali.
- Rebels abandon key northern bases under pressure from French airstrikes. Residents in the towns of Gao, Douentza and Timbuktu report all Islamists have fled, though an Ansar Dine spokesman calls it a "tactical retreat".

Taureg join in intervention. AQIM takes hostages at Algerian Gas Plant in reprisal for Mali.
- Ethnic-Tuareg separatists say they are ready to support the French military intervention by taking on Islamist rebels on the ground
January 16 Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports.

SUMMARY OF MALI HISTORY:  From the beginning, the land occupied by Mali has been centered on the divide between the sources of the Ghana and Niger rivers in the southern Sahara and the jungles and coast line of West Africa. Ghana was the first of the empires that sprang up in this region, flourishing in the 700s. The expanse of half desert happened also to be the southern crossroads between the Middle Eastern and North African trading Empires,the jungled Gold and Slave coasts to the south, and the Atlantic. Ghana was soon the focal point for the trans Sahara caravan trade in gold and slaves. It was this trans-Sahara wealth that brought Islam to the area around 1000 AD with Berber traders from the  north. In the latter half of the 11th century, Almoravid Muslims from Morocco invade and destroy the Ghana Empire.Nevertheless, the profusion of trade continued to bring local cities to prominence.
        In the mid 1200s, Sundiata Keita, king of an embryonic Malian state, defeats that last king of Ghana. By 1300, Mali dominates the Sahara gold trade, the new empire stretching from northern Nigeria to the Atlantic. The mid-century sees a south Saharan colossus renowned in the Muslim capitals of the Middle East as a center of wealth and Islamic scholarship; seen even in southern Europe as a great hub of the gold trade. The north Mali capital of Tiimbuktu becomes becomes a cultural and religious capital.
       From 1375 and into the following century, however, Mali succumbs to the growing power of the new Songhai empire to the east. Around 1600 Moroccan invaders put an end to Songhai rule and a Moroccan empire dominated the region in the 18th century. Nevertheless, the mark left by imperial Mali in learning, architecture and Islam is permanent.
        In the early and mid19th century begins the encroachment of  France on North Africa and from Algeria into the Mali region. around 1850 several Islamic jihads spring up in response, form brief theocracies in the towns as French colonial forces being, "le mission civizilatrice"  to the region. In 1894 the Taureg resist with what is to the the first of several jihads but fail to hold Timbuktu. By 1900, Malian resistance is crushed and French colonial administration is in place. After 1900, the region, now French Sudan, undergoes a series of administrative rearrangements which give it new names, briefly uniting with Senegal and placing it in a larger federation of French of West Africa. Another rebellion is put down in 1915 and and by 1920 it is, once again, French Sudan.
       During the war, Mali nationalist movements begin to appear but the French administration falls under the control of the pro-German Vichy government. In 1944-45, with French liberation, President DeGaulle, anticipating some degree of decolonization, calls a conference on the future of French West Africa. Between then and 1951, the nationalist Sudanese Progressive Party (PPS) gains seats in the National Assembly in France. After France cedes more autonomy to French Sudan, a new nationalist party, the US-RDA beats the PPS for seats in the French National Assembly and is soon dominated by strongman Mobido Keita.
       Semi-autonomy is granted in 1958-1959 and Mali becomes independent in 1960. Now called the Republic of Mali, the country is declared to be a one-party socialist state under the rule of Keita and his US-RDA. Throughout the early and mid-1960s, Mali distances itself from any regional association with France while aligning itself with Pan Arab and Arab African groups of nations. During this period Keita rejects, then readopts the franc as the national currency, wary still of economic neo-colonialism. After attempting a Mao-style cultural revolution, Keita is overthrown in 1968 and Moussa Traore comes to power.

       During the 1980s Taureg fiighters in Libya, hired and exploited by Kaddafi, prepare to liberate northern Mali. The Second Taureg Rebellion breaks out in 1990. Meanwhile, Traore is deposed and Alpha Kaore wins multi-party elections, becoming Mali's first democratcally elected elected president. In 1995, a peace agreement ends the Second Taureg Rebellion. The following year the agreement is celebrated by the renowned Mali music festival.
         In 2002, Ahmad Toure is elected president. From 2003-2005 the rise of Al-Qaeda- related Islamist group across the region is met with the US sponsored Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative which includes training and exercises with Mali and eight other Sahel and Sahara countries. Taureg threats and demands result in a peace deal giving providing Taureg autonomy. But throughout 2008-2009, Taureg attacks increase, destabilizing all of northern Mali before a new peace agreement takes hold.

         As the Islamist threat meanwhile intensifies in 2009-2010, Algeria and and Mali embark on mutual military cooperation against local groups linked to Al Qeada. In 2010-2011, France joins Mauretania in anti-terror operations against Al Qaeda in the Maghreb which extend into Mali. In 2011 things only get worse as separatist Taureg trained in Libya return and launch attacks in northern Mali. President Toure, believed unequal to the crisis, is overthrown and replaced by caretaker president Traore.

       The Taureg briefly make common cause with Islamist rebels arriving in force, but the two groups split as Al-Qaeda linked groups destroy the ancient Islamic tombs in Timbuktu and impose Sharia. Mali is roiled by internal instability as army chiefs resist plans for UN African intervention on a large scale against the rebels.
        Pro-UN factions prevail in Mali and the UN African troops join France in a rapid deployment against the Islamists in Northern Mali. Throughout January 2013, even the Taureg take part in the general, UN-African-French offensive in the north. The rebels are driven out but not without collateral damage from French air strikes and abuses committed by the Malian military against local ethnic groups. To the north, Islamists retaliate by taking hostages at gas plant in Algeria. As of early 2013, the hold of the international force on northern Mali remains tenuous as Islamist rebels threaten to return.


CURRENT EVENTS: By 2010, the central Saharan nation of Mali is faced with a double threat. The more immediate problem is the ethnic Taureg, a Sahara trading people who demand independence in the north of the country. The looming and perhaps larger problem is the existence of AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Maghreb) Islamists in neighbouring Mauretania and throughout the Sahara and the Maghreb countries of the  north.
                  After operations against Al Qaeda in Mauretania, the Mauretanian army attacks Al Qaeda-supported Islamists in northern Mali. For Mali, the worst possible conjunction of events threatens to happen: common cause between the Islamists and the Taureg. In 2011, Taureg fighters who'd fought for Libya's Colonel Kadhafi before his ouster, begin to return to Mali. By January 2012, Taureg fighters are attacking towns in northern Mali. The following March, Mali President Toure is deposed for failing to deal adequately with the Taureg rebellion. A Junta takes control and its leader, Dioncounda Traore, promises the elimination of both the Taureg and the Islamists.In May, 2012, Ex-president Toure attempts a counter-coup which is quickly crushed.
                         Early summer sees an alliance in northern Mali between the Taureg MNLA and the local Al Qaeda-supported Ansar al Dine. Together, they declare Mali to be an Islamic state with the approval of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb. In mid-summer, however, the local Isamists and Al Qaeda break the alliance, turn on the Taureg and force them out of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao. In Tumbuktu Islamist militants destroy ancient tombs celebrating Muslim saints; saints and other elaborations of Islam are considered idolatry according to  the intolerant, purist form of Sunni Islam followed by the Al Qaeda and its local allies.While the coup-ridden government in Bimako forms a cabinet of National Unity to satisfy conditions of international support, Islamists continue to advance on the south.
                       Throughout the fall and winter of 2012, the UN Security Council arranges for an all-African security force under the auspices of the African Union to assist in driving the Islamists out of northern Mali. When elements in the Mali government reject outside intervention, the UN threatens sanctions. Soon, the African-led UN strike force is approved. When Islamist forces pose an imminent threat to the south after capturing the town of Konna in early January, 2013, Mail's president asks for intervention from France.  French troops land in Mali with air support. By mid-January, 2013, a joint West-African-French offensive had pushed the Al-Qaeda-backed Islamists out of Konna with significant losses on both sides. The fights seesaws for a couple of days before the rebels are pushed further northward.
                           While Taureg tribesmen declare support for the international offensive against the rebels, an Algerian Al Qeada group takes dozens of international workers hostage at an Algerian gas plant, allegedly in retaliation for the UN, French and African operations in Mali. Algerian troops retake the plant and most of the hostages are freed, though many are killed.
                          In Mali meanwhile the African-French offensive pushes forward and by January 29, they have retaken Timbuktu and an Goa, the largest city in in the north, but at the cost of civilian casualties from French bombardment and the exacting of ethnic reprisals an alleged war crimes by the Malian army

MALI- 1991-2010- Mali Despot Moussa Traore is overthrown in 1991 as Alpha Konare is freely elected, making Mali a democracy. Traore is sentenced to death for having have ordered the killing of protesters though his sentence is commuted to life.
                  In 1996, Mali finally has a peace agreement with the Taureg tribesmen  while the ceremonial destruction of weapons, along with the opening Mali's world-famous music festival promise better times to come. In 2000-2001 the appoint of a former IMF official as Mali's Prime Minister and a major hydro-electric dam produced its first kilowatt suggesting Mali's gradual entrance into the larger world. In 2002, Amadou Toumani is elected present and thinks look more promising yet as France cancels Mali's debt.
                But hints of political problems continue as the government spontaneously resigns and is replaced by a "Government of  National Unity." And it's in 2003 that the specter of Islamist terrorism first raises its head in Mali with clashes between local Muslim groups. The Unites States meanwhile, initiates the Trans Sahara Anti-terror Initiative in which US Marines train local forces in 9 Sahel and North African countries due to the growth of Al Qaeda-linked Islamist activity in the enormous region. By 2004, the US-led Anti-Terror initiative is underway, providing weapons and training to nine countries vunerable to Al Qaeda, including Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.


Taureg Fighters in Northern Mali.

                The drive of the Taureg for autonomy in northern Mali presents another persistent problem as Mali, in 2006,  signs an Alger-brokered peace deal for this ethnic trading people in the potentially volatile area of the north.  The peace fails to hold. From summer 2007-2008. Taureg stage kidnappings and clash with the army in the north, near the Algerian border before another Algerian-brokered peace deal in 2008.
By 2009, however, the Taureg surrender, ceremoniously burning their weapons.
              No sooner has Mali dealt with the Taureg than Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) descends on the area around Timbucto as Islamists kill several locals. Their plan, it would seem is to make northern Maili into an Islamic state. Mali meanwhile, obtains military commitments from neighbouring ALgeria, Niger and Maurentania to rid the area of Islamists. But in sumer, 2010, the focus is on Mauretania, to the west as France backs Mali and other neighbouring countries in to rid Mauretania of the AQIM. But all is not well: in 2011, Taureg ex-fighters for Libya's late Coj. Kadaffi descend on northern Mali.
 

MALI:  1959-1991- In 1959, the Federation of Mali, joins with Senegal as as Soundan Fraincais, part of the Communaute Francaise with Mobiko Keita as presdident. The following year the Federation of Mali becomes independent but remains part of the of the larger colonial entity, the Sudanese Federation. But Mali separates from Soundan and Keita heads a one-party state at the head of the Union Soudanaise (USRDA). In 1961, Mali takes part in African and Arab unity movements led by Algeria and Egypt's Nasser while cutting more of its remaining ties with France and Franco-African organizations.
                The 1960s brings a strengthening of Keita's grip on power and the rule of his USRDA party with a cultural revolution inspired by Mao's China: an escalating tyranny which leads to Keita's 1968 overthrow by Moussa Traore in a coup d'etat. Throughout the the 1970s, Traore strengthens economic cooperation with the rest of Africa and persecutes partisans of the imprisoned Keita before Traore is re-elected in 1979.
                Roots of the troubles of 2011-2013 first appear in 1990 when Libya's Kaddafi  recruits and arms homeless and oppressed Taureg from northern Mali with the promise of giving them independence. In Libya, however, it becomes clear that Kaddafi's intention is merely to enlist them in his own fight against Chad. Disillusioned Taureg fighters inside the Libyan army form their own dissident group, Tinariwen. By 1982, still based in Libya, are nevertheless ready for armed struggle in northern Mali. In Mali, the Taureg rebellion of 1990-1991 breaks out just as Mali becomes a democracy with Alpha Konare its first truly democratically elected president. Henceforth, Malians, not to mention the international community, would come increasingly to judge the Malian government on its ability to handle what history would call The Second Taureg Rebellion.


MALI:  1866-1959-  In 1866, the French colonize the central Niger River basin where it touches the southern Sahara, a region belonging to the indigenous Muslim Toucouleur Caliphate. "French Sudan"as it is then called, comes to include Senegal and is given full autonomy by France in 1892 but not without the defeat of local resistance. The last major rebellion comes in the form of a Taureg Jihad following the Taureg occupation of Timbuktu in 1894. "French Sudan" is declared a colony though resistance wears on until 1898 and the completion of the French conquest.  After several administrative rearrangements, what is then called Upper Senegal and Niger has its capital established at Bamako in 1908. In 1915 another rebellion is put down by the French. By 1920, the colony is once again named French Sudan, part of the larger colonial entity of French West Africa.
      1930 sees the emergence of the first anti-colonial movement, the Union Soudanais which leans toward African Pan-Arab associations only to fall under the rule of pro-German French Vichy Government in 1939. In 1943, however, Mali returns to rule by France's Free French and in 1945, French president DeGaule holds the Brazzaville conference on the fate of French colonies after the war. A more efficient federal structure is proposed, perhaps a prelude to autonomy. 

       That same year sees a revival of grass roots nationalism with the rise of the Progressive Sudanese Party (PPS) while France incorporates French Soudan into the confederation of West African states, "The French Union." Between 1945 and 1951, the PPS gains three seats in the French National Assembly. In 1956, however, the USRDA (Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally) defeats the PPS, taking all three seats. Mobido Keita soons takes complete control of the new USRDA party.
       DeGaulle, sensing regional nationalism  and the growing impatience for independence, includes French Soudan in "The French Community," in 1958, a loose union in which member states are granted partial autonomy. As if to assert national solidarity, a merger forms between the PPS and the USRDA in 1959. With the brief inclusion of Senegal in the Federation of Mali, Mali becomes in independent state in 1960, under the one-party rule of Mobido Keita.
  
 4OO AD-1866-  Around 400 AD in the southern sub-Sahara, where the Niger river bends to the north, there flourishes the fist urban area of the Sahara, Jenne Jebo. By 700 the city has given rise to the Ghana Empire stretching from what is modern Mali, along the Niger through Mauretania to the Atlantic. Ghana is further enriched by trans Saharan trade routes to the north and east.
         The arrival of Islam, introduced by Arab and Berber traders from the north in the 9th century, is followed by rise of the Malinke Empire of Mali in the upper Niger, on the eastern edge of the Ghana Empire. The nearby city of Gao is the capital of the first all-Muslim kingdom in the region. Around 1050 AD, the Almoravids of Morocco move south, imposing Islamic law from northern Mali to Mauretania, Morocco and Spain. Despite a flourishing gold trade and the rise of new cities, the Ghana empire is destroyed  by the Almoravids. Menwhile, the region continues to grow rich from the Sahara gold trade and and the rise of mercantile cities.

         The Mandinke people emerge from a broken Ghana Empire and form the state of Kangara which will form the nucleus of Mali in the divide between the river sources of the Niger and the Ghana.In the mid-1200s, the Malian conqueror Sundiata Leika, "The Alexander the Great" of Africa, rises to to conquer a weakened Ghana, founds the Malian Empire and converts to Islam. Around 1300, the upstart Sukuru takes the throne of Mali. By then the empire, becoming rich as a focal point in the Sahara gold trade and the trade south into the jungles of Nigeria, is coming to dominate West Africa. In the early 1300s, King Mansa Musa presides over an empire stretching from northern Nigeria to the Atlantic with a literate bureaucracy and an Islamic legal system tolderant of local variations. Mali expands northward to take Timbuktu and Gao.Pilgrimage to Mecca gains Musa renown as far as Cairo, Damascus and Mecca. He imports an Arabian architect to build the Great Mosque of Timbuktu while Timbuctu itself becomes a center for Taureg traders and Islamic scholarship.

        With the gold trade, Mali has reached its height around 1350. Thenceforward, a new state, the Songhai Empire, rises in the east and encroaches on Mali, absorbing Gao and Timbuktu. By now, however, the achievements of Mali, empire or not, are permanent. Beginning 1450 and lasting almost a century and a half, the Songhai empire endures as Timbuktu reaches its height as a center for trade and and Islamic learning.

          The entire region loses its hegemony in 1591 with conquest by Morocco which will last for the 17th and much of the 18th century. The beginnings of European encroachment, especially by the French, give rise to local Islamic jihads, most prominently the Toucouleur and Fula Jihads, giving rise to several hardline Islamic states. By 1850, Al Haji Umar leads the Toucoleur movement to dominate the region, declaring it an Islamic caliphate. The caliphate is doomed with the arrival of the French in force, only a decade and a half later. 


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF MALI.

Ghana Empire
400 CE Jenne-Jeno, sub-Sahara's earliest city, expands.
"The Empires of the Bend of the Niger." (Fernand Braudel)
700s- Region along what is now the border of Mali and Mauritania, which includes present day Mali, is dominated by the Ghana Empire.

c. 800- earliest expansion of Sahara trade routes serving the Muslim north and east.

Arrival of Islam
1000 Islam introduced to region by north African Arab and Berber traders. Rise of the Malinke Kingdom of Mali, centered on the upper reaches of the Niger River.

1010- King Kossoi of Gao the first ruler to accept Islam as the state religion, still maintains non-Muslim traditions n a Muslim court.
1042-1147- Almoravids impose Islamic rule over an area comprising modern Morocco, Mauretainia, northern Mali, western Algeria and Spain.
1077- Ghana, capital of the Ghana empire conquered and destroyed by Almoravid Muslims.
c.1150 -growth of Sahara gold trade due to expansion of southern Europe. 
-flourishing of medieval cities in Ghana : Kumbi, Timbuktu, Gao and Jenne.


Emergence of Mali
Mandinka people arise from the disintegration of Ghana.

1235 Sundiata Keïta ("the Alexander of Africa"), remembered in legend and song as West Africa's greatest conqueror, builds the small state of Kangaba  into the core of the Mali Empire. he also converts to Islam. Mali, like Ghana, extracts tribute from local rulers.
1240- Sundiata defeats Sumanguru of Ghana at the Battle of Kinna, founding the empire of Mali in the area of the divide between the headwaters of the Gambia and Niger rivers in the heart of the southern Sudan and West Africa,
c. 1260- death of Sundiata.









The Mali Empire





1298- Sukuru, an upstart, seizes the throne of Mali.
1300- Niani, capital of the growing Malian Empire grows rich on trade to the south toward Nigeria as well as the desert trade to the north.
Mandinka carvans working in "Dyula" or companies, command the Sahara routes in the gold trade and also settle down to agriculture.
The Empire of Mali, which has grown rich on the trans-Saharan gold trade, dominates West Africa. Region now almost exclusively Muslim. Empire of Mali becomes dominant force in the upper Niger basin, its period of greatness.


The Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu.

Height of the Mali Empire
1312-1337. Under King Mansa Musa, the Mali Empire stretches from northern Nigeria to the Atlantic with a literate bureaucracy and a single legal system tolerant of local variations.
Musa brings merchnats and scholars to the Niger.

-He expands the reach of Islam and becomes known as "Caliph of the Western parts."
-on pilgimage to Mecca his wealth and power earned the respect of Arabia, Egypt and the Arab world.
-Recognized by thee scholars of Damascus and Cairo, Musa imports an Arabian architect to design the mosques of Timbuktu which has become a major center of Islamic scholarship and culture.
1325 Timbuktu and Gao conquered by the Empire of Mali.
Tumbuktu grows in wealth and importance. A centre for Taureg traders. 

-passing through Cairo, Mali's most powerful emperor devalues the Egyptian gold dinar by unlimited gifts and payments in gold to  merchants and followers. The Mali Empire is recognized by southern Europe.

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Early Kingdom of Kangaba and Mali Empire along with trade routes.



Trans Sahara Trade
1352- the Dyula caravan trade, especially in gold, reaching its height. Trade and its route described by Berber traveler Ibn Batuta.

Decline of the Mali Empire
1375- east of Mali, the Songhai begin to assert their independence and encroach on Goa.
14th-15th centuries - Decline of the Empire of Mali, which loses dominance of the gold trade to the Songhai Empire, which makes its base in Timbuktu - historically important as a focal point of Islamic culture and a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route.

The Songhay Empire
1450-1591 Songhay Empire now dominates region, makes a base at Timbuktu. The city becomes a focal point for Islamic culture and an important trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route.
-however, the stamp of the original Mali Empire is still evident.

Moroccan Hegemony.
1591 Songhay Empire defeated by Moroccan invasion. Moroccans make Timbuktu their capital and rule until their decline in the 18th century.

The Toucouleur Jihad

19th century - French colonial advance and Fula and Toucouleur (Tukolor ) jihads spread across region. Various theocratic states formed.
-Prior to the period of French colonialism, each of 12 ethnic groups governed itself. 

1850 Al-Haji Umar, Islamic reformer of the Toucouleur caliphate, conquers region. 1866 Beginning of the French conquest of Mali


French Conquest. 
1866 Beginning of the French conquest of Mali.
1892- 27 August- Soudan Français (French Sudan) granted full autonomy. However the Governor of Senegal continues to hold power through his position in the administration of Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) territories.
1893 Ahmad (Ahmadou) Tall, defeated by French forces, flees to Nigeria.
1893 French take control of Djenne.
1893- 21 Nov.- Civil administration introduced under a civilian governor, Louis Albert Grodet.


The Taureg Jihad
1894- Tuareg rebels declare a jihad against the French following their occupation of the city of Tombouctou in January.
1895 Mali now becomes colony of Soudan Français (French Sudan).
May 1898 French take Sikasso.

Mali a French Colony
1898 - France completes conquest of Mali, then called French Sudan. Samori Toure's Mandinka state is subsumed by the French after seven years of war.
1899- 17 October -Dissolution of Soudan Français (French Sudan) into Haut-Sénégal (Upper Senegal) and Moyen-Niger (Middle Niger). William Merlaud-Ponty appointed as administrator.
1902- 10 October- Haut-Sénégal (Upper Senegal) becomes part of Senegambia, Moyen-Niger (Middle Niger) becomes part of Colonie du Niger (Niger Colony).
1904- 18 October  Federation of Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) formed, administered from Dakar (Senegal). What had been Soudan Français (French Sudan) becomes Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger). Lieutenant-Governor William Merlaud-Ponty remains in post of administrator.
1908   23 May- Capital of Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger) moved from Kayes to Bamako. Lieutenant-Governor François Joseph Clozel now in command
25 Februrary- Africans are conscripted into French army to help fight the First World War.
1915- French authorities in Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger) forcefully put down consequent rebellion.
March 1, 1919 Colony of Upper Volta detached from Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger) to form a distinct colony within Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa).
1920, Dec. 4, Region renamed Soudan Français (French Sudan).

Mali Nationalist Movement vs. French Post WW II Colonial Consolidation.

c.1930 Union Soudanais formed local nationalists to oppose French rule. Attracts support of pan-Arabist groups in region.
1939 Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) allies with Vichy government in France.
July 1943 Pierre François Boisson, Governor of Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) removed by allied forces. New incumbent, Governor-General Pierre Charles Cournarie, answers to General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French.
30 January 1944 Brazzaville Conference, held in the capital of the French Congo (now the Republic of Congo) and also the regional capital of Afrique Équatoriale Française (French Equatorial Africa), called by General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French to discuss the future of France's African colonies. It is suggested that following the expected liberation of France and the end of World War II, a federal structure be set up for France's African possessions.

Indigenous Opposition.
1945 (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party formed with the support of traditional chiefs and non-Muslims. PPS becomes the main indigenous opposition to the Union Soudanaise (US).

1946 As per the Brazzaville Declaration, Soudan Français (French Sudan) becomes a country within the Union Française (French Union), and is given a legislative council.
1947 Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party) wins two seats (out of three) to the French Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) allotted to Soudan Français.
1951 Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party) wins all three seats to the French Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly)


Rise of Keita and the US-RDA party.
1956 France passes the Loi Cadre passing extensive powers to the Territorial Assembly for internal affairs. Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Democratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally) win selections for the French Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly), beating the Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party). Mamdou Konaté, one of the two leaders of the US-RDA, dies, and Modibo Keita takes full control of the party

Mali wins semi-autonomy.
1958, 28 September- 1958 French constitutional referendum held in Afrique Équatoriale Française (French Equatorial Africa) leads to the Soudan Français becoming a member of La Communauté (the French Community) with semi-autonomous self-government. This is DeGaulle's strategy to stem a sudden and complete break with France and rapid nationalism among the African colonies.
1959- 31 March- Following a three day conference, Fily Dabo Sissoko announces that the Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party) is to merge with the Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally).
1959 - Mali and Senegal form the Mali Federation, which splits a year later.

Independence.
 1959 April 4-The Fderation of Mali formed by joining the Soudan Français with Senegal as part of the Communauté Française (French Community).
1960- June 20- The Federation of Mali is given full independence by France. Modibo Keïta is president of the Federation of Mali and of the Council of Government of the Sudanese Republic (constituent part of the Federation that used to be Soudan Français).

Mali becomes a one-party, socialist state and withdraws from the Franc zone.
20 August- Senegal leaves the Federation of Mali, former Soudan Français (French Sudan) continues onwards as the Republic of Mali.
22 September 1960 Republic of Mali proclaimed with Modibo Keita as first president with the Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally) winning all 80 seats in the National Assembly. Keïta introduces a one-party state and withdraws form the Franc Zone.

Mali leans toward Arab and African unity and nationalist movements.
1961- September- Keïta attends the Non-Aligned Movement conference in Belgrade, meets with President Gamal Abdul Nasser of the United Arab Republic and Benyoussef Ben Khedda President of Algeria (as well as several other notable African statesmen).
1961- July- Mali, Guinea, and Ghana form the Union of African States. It is intended to promote political friendship and economic co-operation between the three states.


1961- the Mali franc is introduced -- this follows the Republic's desire to cut ties with the Communauté Française (French Community) and withdraw form the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine -- African Financial Community) franc. Several leading figures are detained.
1963 Union of African States is dissolved.

Strengthening of One-Party Rule.


 1964- April 12- Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally) is only party allowed to present candidates for a legislative election.
1965- April 5-10- President Modibo Keïta visits Mauritania to hold discussions on closer political and economic relations.
1967 Mali renegotiates its reentry into the Franc zone, but French imposed economic supervision is looked upon as colonialism by many Malians.
April 10- As a result of the Six Day War (aka 1967 Arab-Israeli War) Mali breaks diplomatic relations with the UK.

Keita tightens his grip but is ousted in Coup D'Etat.
August 1967 Keïta launchs a cultural revolution, the Révolution Active, inspired by Mao Zedong's revolution in China -- but his purges and authoritarian tactics alienate most of the population.
1968 April 10- Mali resumes diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom (as does Algeria and Mauritania). They had been suspended following the Six-Day War (between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria) the previous year.

1968 November 19- Keita ousted in coup led by Lieutenant Moussa Traore who becomes head of state, Yoro Diakité becomes prime minister. Traoré is advised by the Comité Militaire de Libération Nationale (CMLN, Military Committee for National Liberation).

1975 - May 25, ECOWAS Treaty1 was signed. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was formed in Nigeria with 15 members that included: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

1977 - Protests erupt following Keita's death in prison.

1979 - New constitution provides for elections; Traore re-elected president.

Mali

Taureg Exploited by Ghaddafi. The Second Taureg Rebellion
1980-    Colonel Muammar Khaddafi of Libya recruits the nationless, disenfranchised nomads by implying that he would train the Kel Tamashek (Taureg) and provide weapons to fight for their independence from the Malian government. The rebels slowly realized that Khadaffi's only intention was to use them in his own wars. Some of these dejected fighters formed the band Tinariwen in Khadaffi's rebel camp.

1982-  The founding members of Tinariwen came together as a band, whilst they were in exile in Libya. They were deeply involved in the Touareg’s armed struggle

1985 - Mali and Burkina Faso engage in border fighting.
1990-  The "Second Tuareg Rebellion" broke out, a struggle to liberate a region in the north from the Malian government.

Traore Deposed in favour of democracy.
1991 -Mar 26, Mali became a democracy: Traore deposed in coup and replaced by transitional committee.

1992 - Alpha Konare wins multiparty elections to become Mali's first democratically-elected president.
Feb 25, The Republic of Mali proclaimed a new Constitution. Gen. Amadou Toumani Toure introduced multi-party democracy in Mali.

1993  Gen'l. Moussa Traore condemned to death for ordering the killing of over 100 demonstrators, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison. He was again condemned to death in 1999 for misappropriating public funds, but his sentence was again commuted to life in prison.
1994-2004Gold production in Mali grew from 6.3 million tons to 39.3 million tons.

Peace Agreement with Taureg.
1995 - Peace agreement with Tuareg tribes leads to return of thousands of refugees.
1996 - In Mali “the Flame of Peace” ceremony, in which thousands of weapons were incinerated, marked a reconciliation between the Touareg nomads and the government. The annual “Festival in the Desert” music festival grew as an outshoot of this. It took place near Essakane, an oasis some 40 miles north-west of Timbuktu.
1999-  Jan 4, In Sierra Leone Nigerian troops repelled a rebel attack on Freetown's airport. Gambia and Mali agreed to send troops to join the Nigerian forces
1999 - Former President Moussa Traore sentenced to death on corruption charges, but has his sentence commuted to life imprisonment by President Konare.

1999 October - Several people killed in fighting in the north between members of the Kunta tribe and an Arab community over local disputes.

2000 February - Konare appoints former International Monetary Fund official Mande Sidibe prime minister.

2001 December - Manantali dam in southwest produces its first megawatt of hydro-electricity, 13 years after it was completed.

Amadou Toure elected president.
2002 April - Amadou Toumani Toure elected president by landslide. Poll is marred by allegations of fraud.
2002 Aug 10, In Mali a Constitutional Court reversed the outcome of last month's parliamentary elections, giving an opposition alliance a comfortable lead.
2002 September - France says it will cancel 40% of debts owed to it by Mali, amounting to some 80m euros ($79m, £51m).

2002 October - Government resigns, without public explanation. New "government of national unity" is unveiled.

US Regional Anti-Terror Program.
2003 August - Clashes between rival Muslim groups in west kill at least 10 people.

2004 - US Special Forces began training local troops in Mauritania and Mali under a program called the Pan-Sahel Initiative. The program was renamed the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative and taken over by Marines, who extended the training to Chad and Niger.
2004 April - Prime Minister Mohamed Ag Amani resigns and is replaced by Ousmane Issoufi Maiga.

2004 September - Agriculture minister says severe locust plague has cut cereal harvest by up to 45%.
2005  June, The Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative began operations. The US funded plan intended to provide military equipment and development aid to 9 north-east African countries considered fertile ground for Muslim militant groups. Participating countries included Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.
2005 June - World Food Programme warns of severe food shortages, the result of drought and locust infestations in 2004.

Taureg win autonomy deal.
2006 June - The government signs an Algerian-brokered peace deal with Tuareg rebels seeking greater autonomy for their northern desert region. The rebels looted weapons in the town of Kidal in May, raising fears of a new rebellion.

2007 April - President Toure wins a second five-year term in elections.

2007 July - The ruling coalition, Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP), strengthens its hold on parliament in elections.
July 7, Mali’s decentralized government numbers 702 local communes as opposed to 18 in 1991.

Resurgence of Taureg militancy.

2007 August - Suspected Tuareg rebels abduct government soldiers in separate incidents near the Niger and Algerian borders.
2008 Mar 20, In Mali clashes began around Tinzaouatene, near the Algerian border, as insurgents attacked soldiers clearing mines in what the rebels feared was a prelude to a government offensive. 3 soldiers were killed when their vehicle was blown up by a mine and four captured in combat by the rebels.
2008 May - Tuareg rebels kill 17 soldiers in attack on an army post in the northeast, despite a ceasefire agreed a month earlier.
2008-  July 18, In Algeria the government of Mali and ethnic Tuareg rebels reach a truce agreement in dangerous northern Mali. One faction of the Tuareg group refused to sign the deal, saying it did not do enough to help the Tuaregs
2008 December - At least 20 people are killed and several taken hostage in an attack by Tuareg rebels on a military base in northern Mali.

2009 February - Government says the army has taken control of all the bases of the most active Tuareg rebel group. A week later, 700 rebels surrender their weapons in ceremony marking their return to the peace process.


Enter Al Qaeda In the Maghreb (AQIM)
2009 May - Algeria begins sending military equipment to Mali in preparation for a joint operation against Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda.
2009- Jul 4, In Mali dozens of people were killed during clashes in the Timbuktu region between the army and Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters.

2009 August - New law boosts women's rights, prompts some protests.
2010 January - Annual music event - Festival in the Desert - is moved from a desert oasis to Timbuktu because of security fears.

2010- Apr 21, The Algerian Defense Ministry said Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger are opening a joint military headquarters in the Algerian city Tamanrasset, in a united effort to combat terrorism and kidnapping in northwestern Africa. The Committee of Joint Chiefs (CEMOC) was based in  Tamanrasset.

France joins the offensive against AQIM.
2010   Jul 24, French-backed Mauritanian military operations against al Qaeda fighters in the Sahara desert wound up after four days of hunting Islamists deep inside Mali.
2010-  Sep 17, The Mauritanian army launched an offensive against the North African branch of al-Qaida in neighboring Mali. At least 12 militants died and five Mauritanians were killed in the operation, which was launched  inside northern Mali with permission
2011- Jun 24, In northeast Mali a raid by the Mauritanian army on an Al-Qaeda base left 17 dead, including two soldiers.
2011- Aug 26, Mali's most radical Tuareg rebel chief Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, who never agreed to disarm, dies in an accident.

Renewed Taureg unrest.
2011-  Aug 28, Security sources said hundreds of armed Tuaregs from Mali and Niger who fought for toppled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi have started to return to their home nations.
2012 January - Fears of new Tuareg rebellion following attacks on northern towns which prompt civilians to flee into Mauritania.

Toure deposed.
2012 March - Military officers depose President Toure ahead of the April presidential elections, accusing him of failing to deal effectively with the Tuareg rebellion. African Union suspends Mali.
2012 April - Tuareg rebels seize control of northern Mali, declare independence.
Military hands over to a civilian interim government, led by President Dioncounda Traore.
April 13: New interim president Dioncounda Traore, the former parliament speaker, threatens to wage total war on both Tuareg rebels and Islamists as he takes the oath of office.
2012 May - Junta reasserts control after an alleged coup attempt by supporters of ousted President Toure in Bamako. Pro-junta protesters storm presidential compound and beat Mr Traore unconscious.

Taureg merge then split with Islamist rebels.
The Tuareg MNLA and Islamist Ansar Dine rebel groups merge and declare northern Mali to be an Islamic state. Ansar Dine begins to impose Islamic law in Timbuktu. Al-Qaeda in North Africa endorses the deal.
2012 June-July - Ansar Dine and its Al-Qaeda ally turn on the Taureg MNLA and capture the main northern cities of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao, ousting Tuareg rebels after clashes between the once-allied groups.

Map of Mali


Islamists destroy Muslim Tombs, strengthen grip on north, advance on south.
June 30: Armed Islamists destroy ancient tombs of Muslim saints that offend their puritan views in the desert city of Timbuktu and threaten to wipe out every religious shrine there. They impose sharia, the strict and often brutal Islamic law.
2012 August - Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra forms a new government of national unity in order to satisfy regional demands for a transition from military-dominated rule. The cabinet of 31 ministers includes five seen as close to coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo.
 2012 Autumn-Winter - Northern Islamist rebels consolidate their hold on the north. They seize strategically important town of Douentza in September, crossing into the central part of Mali and closer to the government-held south-west.

UN and ECOWAS agree on joint intervention against rebels.
October 12: The UN Security Council approves a resolution that presses West African nations to speed up preparations for an international military intervention aimed at reconquering northern Mali.
2012 November - The West African regional grouping Ecowas agrees to  a coordinated military expedition of up to 3,300 troops for a year to recapture the north, with UN and African Union backing. Preparations are expected to take several months.
2012 December - Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra resigns, allegedly under pressure from army leaders who oppose plans for Ecowas military intervention. President Traore appoints a presidential official, Django Sissoko, to succeed him. The UN and US threaten sanctions.
December 20: The UN Security Council unanimously approves sending an African-led force to help reconquer northern Mali from the Islamist militants. However the Council says all possible diplomatic avenues must be exhausted before force can be used.

France joins intervention 
2013 January - Islamist fighters capture the central town of Konna and say they will push further south. President Traore asks France for help and Paris responds by sending troops and carrying out air strikes on rebel bases.
Mali's interim president asks France for help, envoys say, as the UN Security Council calls for the "rapid" deployment of the African-led intervention force.Witnesses say that foreign troops and weapons have begun arriving by transport plane at an army base in Sevare, just 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Konna.


West African nations join intervention.
Nigeria pledges 600 troops while Burkina Faso and Senegal each offer 500 for the regional force tasked with wresting back control of the north.
January 11: Malian government troops launch an offensive against Islamists with backing from France, Nigeria and Senegal, military and political sources say. French President Francois Hollande confirms French troops are actively supporting an offensive by Malian forces against Islamists.
January 12: Mali's army retakes control of Konna after one of the worst clashes with Islamists since the start of the crisis. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announces the death of a French military pilot in the battle. The clashes kill dozens of Islamists, according to the Malian military and witnesses.

January 13: France keeps up airstrikes on Mali, targeting Islamist bases in the northern city of Gao, controlled by the group MUJAO. A top Islamist leader is reported killed.
International support is ramped up as Benin, Togo and Niger all promise additional troop reinforcements and Britain says it will send aircraft for logistical support. Algeria reiterates support for its neighbour to Malian President Diango Cissoko, on a visit to Algiers.
The ECOWAS bloc convenes an emergency summit for January 19.
January 14: Islamists seize the town of Diabaly in government-held territory, 250 miles north of the capital. They vow to "strike at the heart of France".
- French warplanes pound Islamist positions in the town of Douentza in central Mali.
- Rebels abandon key northern bases under pressure from French airstrikes. Residents in the towns of Gao, Douentza and Timbuktu report all Islamists have fled, though an Ansar Dine spokesman calls it a "tactical retreat".

Taureg join in intervention. AQIM takes hostages at Algerian Gas Plant in reprisal for Mali. 
- Ethnic-Tuareg separatists say they are ready to support the French military intervention by taking on Islamist rebels on the ground
 January 16  Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports.


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF MALI

Ghana Empire
400 CE Jenne-Jeno, sub-Sahara's earliest city, expands.
"The Empires of the Bend of the Niger." (Fernand Braudel)
700s- Region along what is now the border of Mali and Mauritania, which includes present day Mali, is dominated by the Ghana Empire.
c. 800- earliest expansion of Sahara trade routes serving the Muslim north and east.

Arrival of Islam
1000 Islam introduced to region by north African Arab and Berber traders. Rise of the Malinke Kingdom of Mali, centered on the upper reaches of the Niger River.

1010- King Kossoi of Gao the first ruler to accept Islam as the state religion, still maintains non-Muslim traditions n a Muslim court.
1042-1147- Almoravids impose Islamic rule over an area comprising modern Morocco, Mauretainia, northern Mali, western Algeria and Spain.
 1077- Ghana, capital of the Ghana empire conquered and destroyed by Almoravid Muslims. 
c.1150 -growth of Sahara gold trade due to expansion of southern Europe. 
-flourishing of medieval cities in Ghana : Kumbi, Timbuktu, Gao and Jenne.


Emergence of Mali
Mandinka people arise from the disintegration of Ghana.

1235 Sundiata Keïta ("the Alexander of Africa"), remembered in legend and song as West Africa's greatest conqueror, builds the small state of Kangaba  into the core of the Mali Empire. he also converts to Islam. Mali, like Ghana, extracts tribute from local rulers.
1240- Sundiata defeats Sumanguru of Ghana at the Battle of Kinna, founding the empire of Mali in the area of the divide between the headwaters of the Gambia and Niger rivers in the heart of the southern Sudan and West Africa,
c. 1260- death of Sundiata.









The Mali Empire





1298- Sukuru, an upstart, seizes the throne of Mali.
1300- Niani, capital of the growing Malian Empire grows rich on trade to the south toward Nigeria as well as the desert trade to the north.
Mandinka carvans working in "Dyula" or companies, command the Sahara routes in the gold trade and also settle down to agriculture.
The Empire of Mali, which has grown rich on the trans-Saharan gold trade, dominates the West Africa. Region now almost exclusively ad the Muslim. Empire of Mali becomes dominant force in the upper Niger basin, its period of greatness.


The Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu.

Height of the Mali Empire
1312-1337. Under King Mansa Musa, the Mali Empire stretches from northern Nigeria to the Atlantic with a literate bureaucracy and a single legal system tolerant of local variations.
Musa brings merchants and scholars to the Niger.

-He expands the reach of Islam and becomes known as "Caliph of the Western parts."
-on pilgimage to Mecca his wealth and power earned the respect of Arabia, Egypt and the Arab world.

1325 Timbuktu and Gao conquered by the Empire of Mali.
Tumbuktu grows in wealth and importance. A centre for Taureg traders. 

-passing through Cairo, Mali's most powerful emperor devalues the Egyptian gold dinar by unlimited gifts and payments in gold to  merchants and followers. The Mali Empire is recognized by southern Europe.
-Recognized by the scholars of Damascus and Cairo, Musa imports an Arabian architect to design the mosques of Timbuktu which has become a major center of Islamic scholarship and culture
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Early Kingdom of Kangaba and Mali Empire along with trade routes.



Trans Sahara Trade
1352- the Dyula caravan trade, especially in gold, reaching its height. Trade and its route described by Berber traveler Ibn Batuta.

Decline of the Mali Empire
1375- east of Mali, the Songhai begin to assert their independence and encroach on Goa.
14th-15th centuries - Decline of the Empire of Mali, which loses dominance of the gold trade to the Songhai Empire, which makes its base in Timbuktu - historically important as a focal point of Islamic culture and a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route.

The Songhay Empire
1450-1591 Songhay Empire now dominates region Timbuktu becomes a focal point for Islamic culture and an important trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route.
-however, the stamp of the original Mali Empire is still evident.

Moroccan Hegemony.
1591 Songhay Empire defeated by Moroccan invasion. Moroccans make Timbuktu their capital and rule until their decline in the 18th century.

The Toucouleur Jihad

19th century - French colonial advance and Fula and Toucouleur (Tukolor ) jihads spread across region. Various theocratic states formed.
-Prior to the period of French colonialism, each of 12 ethnic groups governed itself. 
1850 Al-Haji Umar, Islamic reformer of the Toucouleur caliphate, conquers region. 1866 Beginning of the French conquest of Mali


French Conquest
1866 Beginning of the French conquest of Mali.
1892- 27 August- Soudan Français (French Sudan) granted full autonomy. However the Governor of Senegal continues to hold power through his position in the administration of Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) territories.
1893 Ahmad (Ahmadou) Tall, defeated by French forces, flees to Nigeria.
1893 French take control of Djenne.
1893- 21 Nov.- Civil administration introduced under a civilian governor, Louis Albert Grodet.


The Taureg Jihad
1894- Tuareg rebels declare a jihad against the French following their occupation of the city of Tombouctou in January.
1895 Mali now becomes colony of Soudan Français (French Sudan).
May 1898 French take Sikasso.

Mali a French Colony
1898 - France completes conquest of Mali, then called French Sudan. Samori Toure's Mandinka state is subsumed by the French after seven years of war.
1899- 17 October -Dissolution of Soudan Français (French Sudan) into Haut-Sénégal (Upper Senegal) and Moyen-Niger (Middle Niger). William Merlaud-Ponty appointed as administrator.
1902- 10 October- Haut-Sénégal (Upper Senegal) becomes part of Senegambia, Moyen-Niger (Middle Niger) becomes part of Colonie du Niger (Niger Colony).
1904- 18 October  Federation of Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) formed, administered from Dakar (Senegal). What had been Soudan Français (French Sudan) becomes Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger). Lieutenant-Governor William Merlaud-Ponty remains in post of administrator.
1908   23 May- Capital of Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger) moved from Kayes to Bamako. Lieutenant-Governor François Joseph Clozel now in command
25 Februrary- Africans are conscripted into French army to help fight the First World War.
1915- French authorities in Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger) forcefully put down consequent rebellion.
March 1, 1919 Colony of Upper Volta detached from Haut-Sénégal-Niger (Upper Senegal and Niger) to form a distinct colony within Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa).
1920, Dec. 4, Region renamed Soudan Français (French Sudan).

Mali Nationalist Movement vs. French Post WW II Colonial Consolidation.

c.1930 Union Soudanais formed local nationalists to oppose French rule. Attracts support of pan-Arabist groups in region.
1939 Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) allies with Vichy government in France.
July 1943 Pierre François Boisson, Governor of Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa) removed by allied forces. New incumbent, Governor-General Pierre Charles Cournarie, answers to General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French.
30 January 1944 Brazzaville Conference, held in the capital of the French Congo (now the Republic of Congo) and also the regional capital of Afrique Équatoriale Française (French Equatorial Africa), called by General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French to discuss the future of France's African colonies. It is suggested that following the expected liberation of France and the end of World War II, a federal structure be set up for France's African possessions.

Indigenous Opposition.
1945 (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party formed with the support of traditional chiefs and non-Muslims. PPS becomes the main indigenous opposition to the Union Soudanaise (US).

1946 As per the Brazzaville Declaration, Soudan Français (French Sudan) becomes a country within the Union Française (French Union), and is given a legislative council.
1947 Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party) wins two seats (out of three) to the French Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) allotted to Soudan Français.
1951 Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party) wins all three seats to the French Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly)


Rise of Keita and the US-RDA party.
1956 France passes the Loi Cadre passing extensive powers to the Territorial Assembly for internal affairs. Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Democratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally) win selections for the French Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly), beating the Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party). Mamdou Konaté, one of the two leaders of the US-RDA, dies, and Modibo Keita takes full control of the party

Mali wins semi-autonomy.
1958, 28 September- 1958 French constitutional referendum held in Afrique Équatoriale Française (French Equatorial Africa) leads to the Soudan Français becoming a member of La Communauté (the French Community) with semi-autonomous self-government. This is DeGaulle's strategy to stem a sudden and complete break with France and rapid nationalism among the African colonies.
1959- 31 March- Following a three day conference, Fily Dabo Sissoko announces that the Parti Progressive Soudanais (PPS, Progressive Sudanese Party) is to merge with the Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally).
1959 - Mali and Senegal form the Mali Federation, which splits a year later.

Independence.
 1959 April 4-The Fderation of Mali formed by joining the Soudan Français with Senegal as part of the Communauté Française (French Community).
1960- June 20- The Federation of Mali is given full independence by France. Modibo Keïta is president of the Federation of Mali and of the Council of Government of the Sudanese Republic (constituent part of the Federation that used to be Soudan Français).

Mali becomes a one-party, socialist state and withdraws from the Franc zone.
20 August- Senegal leaves the Federation of Mali, former Soudan Français (French Sudan) continues onwards as the Republic of Mali.
22 September 1960 Republic of Mali proclaimed with Modibo Keita as first president with the Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally) winning all 80 seats in the National Assembly. Keïta introduces a one-party state and withdraws form the Franc Zone.

Mali leans toward Arab and African unity and nationalist movements.
1961- September- Keïta attends the Non-Aligned Movement conference in Belgrade, meets with President Gamal Abdul Nasser of the United Arab Republic and Benyoussef Ben Khedda President of Algeria (as well as several other notable African statesmen).
1961- July- Mali, Guinea, and Ghana form the Union of African States. It is intended to promote political friendship and economic co-operation between the three states.


1961- the Mali franc is introduced -- this follows the Republic's desire to cut ties with the Communauté Française (French Community) and withdraw form the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine -- African Financial Community) franc. Several leading figures are detained.
1963 Union of African States is dissolved.

Strengthening of One-Party Rule.


 1964- April 12- Union Soudanaise-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (US-RDA, Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally) is only party allowed to present candidates for a legislative election.
1965- April 5-10- President Modibo Keïta visits Mauritania to hold discussions on closer political and economic relations.
1967 Mali renegotiates its reentry into the Franc zone, but French imposed economic supervision is looked upon as colonialism by many Malians.
April 10- As a result of the Six Day War (aka 1967 Arab-Israeli War) Mali breaks diplomatic relations with the UK.

Keita tightens his grip but is ousted in Coup D'Etat.
August 1967 Keïta launchs a cultural revolution, the Révolution Active, inspired by Mao Zedong's revolution in China -- but his purges and authoritarian tactics alienate most of the population.
1968 April 10- Mali resumes diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom (as does Algeria and Mauritania). They had been suspended following the Six-Day War (between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria) the previous year.

1968 November 19- Keita ousted in coup led by Lieutenant Moussa Traore who becomes head of state, Yoro Diakité becomes prime minister. Traoré is advised by the Comité Militaire de Libération Nationale (CMLN, Military Committee for National Liberation).

1975 - May 25, ECOWAS Treaty1 was signed. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was formed in Nigeria with 15 members that included: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

1977 - Protests erupt following Keita's death in prison.

1979 - New constitution provides for elections; Traore re-elected president.

Mali

Taureg Exploited by Ghaddafi. The Second Taureg Rebellion
1980-    Colonel Muammar Khaddafi of Libya recruits the nationless, disenfranchised nomads by implying that he would train the Kel Tamashek (Taureg) and provide weapons to fight for their independence from the Malian government. The rebels slowly realized that Khadaffi's only intention was to use them in his own wars. Some of these dejected fighters formed the band Tinariwen in Khadaffi's rebel camp.

1982-  The founding members of Tinariwen came together as a band, whilst they were in exile in Libya. They were deeply involved in the Touareg’s armed struggle

1985 - Mali and Burkina Faso engage in border fighting.
1990-  The "Second Tuareg Rebellion" broke out, a struggle to liberate a region in the north from the Malian government.

Traore Deposed in favour of democracy.
1991 -Mar 26, Mali became a democracy: Traore deposed in coup and replaced by transitional committee.

1992 - Alpha Konare wins multiparty elections to become Mali's first democratically-elected president.
Feb 25, The Republic of Mali proclaimed a new Constitution. Gen. Amadou Toumani Toure introduced multi-party democracy in Mali.

1993  Gen'l. Moussa Traore condemned to death for ordering the killing of over 100 demonstrators, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison. He was again condemned to death in 1999 for misappropriating public funds, but his sentence was again commuted to life in prison.
1994-2004Gold production in Mali grew from 6.3 million tons to 39.3 million tons.

Peace Agreement with Taureg.
1995 - Peace agreement with Tuareg tribes leads to return of thousands of refugees.
1996 - In Mali “the Flame of Peace” ceremony, in which thousands of weapons were incinerated, marked a reconciliation between the Touareg nomads and the government. The annual “Festival in the Desert” music festival grew as an outshoot of this. It took place near Essakane, an oasis some 40 miles north-west of Timbuktu.
1999-  Jan 4, In Sierra Leone Nigerian troops repelled a rebel attack on Freetown's airport. Gambia and Mali agreed to send troops to join the Nigerian forces
1999 - Former President Moussa Traore sentenced to death on corruption charges, but has his sentence commuted to life imprisonment by President Konare.

1999 October - Several people killed in fighting in the north between members of the Kunta tribe and an Arab community over local disputes.

2000 February - Konare appoints former International Monetary Fund official Mande Sidibe prime minister.

2001 December - Manantali dam in southwest produces its first megawatt of hydro-electricity, 13 years after it was completed.

Amadou Toure elected president.
2002 April - Amadou Toumani Toure elected president by landslide. Poll is marred by allegations of fraud.
2002 Aug 10, In Mali a Constitutional Court reversed the outcome of last month's parliamentary elections, giving an opposition alliance a comfortable lead.
2002 September - France says it will cancel 40% of debts owed to it by Mali, amounting to some 80m euros ($79m, £51m).

2002 October - Government resigns, without public explanation. New "government of national unity" is unveiled.

US Regional Anti-Terror Program.
2003 August - Clashes between rival Muslim groups in west kill at least 10 people.

2004 - US Special Forces began training local troops in Mauritania and Mali under a program called the Pan-Sahel Initiative. The program was renamed the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative and taken over by Marines, who extended the training to Chad and Niger.
2004 April - Prime Minister Mohamed Ag Amani resigns and is replaced by Ousmane Issoufi Maiga.

2004 September - Agriculture minister says severe locust plague has cut cereal harvest by up to 45%.
2005  June, The Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative began operations. The US funded plan intended to provide military equipment and development aid to 9 north-east African countries considered fertile ground for Muslim militant groups. Participating countries included Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.
2005 June - World Food Programme warns of severe food shortages, the result of drought and locust infestations in 2004.

Taureg win autonomy deal.
2006 June - The government signs an Algerian-brokered peace deal with Tuareg rebels seeking greater autonomy for their northern desert region. The rebels looted weapons in the town of Kidal in May, raising fears of a new rebellion.

2007 April - President Toure wins a second five-year term in elections.

2007 July - The ruling coalition, Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP), strengthens its hold on parliament in elections.
July 7, Mali’s decentralized government numbers 702 local communes as opposed to 18 in 1991.

Resurgence of Taureg militancy.

2007 August - Suspected Tuareg rebels abduct government soldiers in separate incidents near the Niger and Algerian borders.
2008 Mar 20, In Mali clashes began around Tinzaouatene, near the Algerian border, as insurgents attacked soldiers clearing mines in what the rebels feared was a prelude to a government offensive. 3 soldiers were killed when their vehicle was blown up by a mine and four captured in combat by the rebels.
2008 May - Tuareg rebels kill 17 soldiers in attack on an army post in the northeast, despite a ceasefire agreed a month earlier.
2008-  July 18, In Algeria the government of Mali and ethnic Tuareg rebels reach a truce agreement in dangerous northern Mali. One faction of the Tuareg group refused to sign the deal, saying it did not do enough to help the Tuaregs
2008 December - At least 20 people are killed and several taken hostage in an attack by Tuareg rebels on a military base in northern Mali.

2009 February - Government says the army has taken control of all the bases of the most active Tuareg rebel group. A week later, 700 rebels surrender their weapons in ceremony marking their return to the peace process.


Enter Al Qaeda In the Maghreb (AQIM)
2009 May - Algeria begins sending military equipment to Mali in preparation for a joint operation against Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda.
2009- Jul 4, In Mali dozens of people were killed during clashes in the Timbuktu region between the army and Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters.

2009 August - New law boosts women's rights, prompts some protests.
2010 January - Annual music event - Festival in the Desert - is moved from a desert oasis to Timbuktu because of security fears.

2010- Apr 21, The Algerian Defense Ministry said Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger are opening a joint military headquarters in the Algerian city Tamanrasset, in a united effort to combat terrorism and kidnapping in northwestern Africa. The Committee of Joint Chiefs (CEMOC) was based in  Tamanrasset.

France joins the offensive against AQIM.
2010   Jul 24, French-backed Mauritanian military operations against al Qaeda fighters in the Sahara desert wound up after four days of hunting Islamists deep inside Mali.
2010-  Sep 17, The Mauritanian army launched an offensive against the North African branch of al-Qaida in neighboring Mali. At least 12 militants died and five Mauritanians were killed in the operation, which was launched  inside northern Mali with permission
2011- Jun 24, In northeast Mali a raid by the Mauritanian army on an Al-Qaeda base left 17 dead, including two soldiers.
2011- Aug 26, Mali's most radical Tuareg rebel chief Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, who never agreed to disarm, dies in an accident.

Renewed Taureg unrest.
2011-  Aug 28, Security sources said hundreds of armed Tuaregs from Mali and Niger who fought for toppled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi have started to return to their home nations.
2012 January - Fears of new Tuareg rebellion following attacks on northern towns which prompt civilians to flee into Mauritania.

Toure deposed.
2012 March - Military officers depose President Toure ahead of the April presidential elections, accusing him of failing to deal effectively with the Tuareg rebellion. African Union suspends Mali.
2012 April - Tuareg rebels seize control of northern Mali, declare independence.
Military hands over to a civilian interim government, led by President Dioncounda Traore.
April 13: New interim president Dioncounda Traore, the former parliament speaker, threatens to wage total war on both Tuareg rebels and Islamists as he takes the oath of office.
2012 May - Junta reasserts control after an alleged coup attempt by supporters of ousted President Toure in Bamako. Pro-junta protesters storm presidential compound and beat Mr Traore unconscious.

Taureg merge then split with Islamist rebels.
The Tuareg MNLA and Islamist Ansar Dine rebel groups merge and declare northern Mali to be an Islamic state. Ansar Dine begins to impose Islamic law in Timbuktu. Al-Qaeda in North Africa endorses the deal.
2012 June-July - Ansar Dine and its Al-Qaeda ally turn on the Taureg MNLA and capture the main northern cities of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao, ousting Tuareg rebels after clashes between the once-allied groups.

Map of Mali


Islamists destroy Muslim Tombs, strengthen grip on north, advance on south.
June 30: Armed Islamists destroy ancient tombs of Muslim saints that offend their puritan views in the desert city of Timbuktu and threaten to wipe out every religious shrine there. They impose sharia, the strict and often brutal Islamic law.
2012 August - Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra forms a new government of national unity in order to satisfy regional demands for a transition from military-dominated rule. The cabinet of 31 ministers includes five seen as close to coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo.
 2012 Autumn-Winter - Northern Islamist rebels consolidate their hold on the north. They seize strategically important town of Douentza in September, crossing into the central part of Mali and closer to the government-held south-west.

UN and ECOWAS agree on joint intervention against rebels.
October 12: The UN Security Council approves a resolution that presses West African nations to speed up preparations for an international military intervention aimed at reconquering northern Mali.
2012 November - The West African regional grouping Ecowas agrees to  a coordinated military expedition of up to 3,300 troops for a year to recapture the north, with UN and African Union backing. Preparations are expected to take several months.
2012 December - Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra resigns, allegedly under pressure from army leaders who oppose plans for Ecowas military intervention. President Traore appoints a presidential official, Django Sissoko, to succeed him. The UN and US threaten sanctions.
December 20: The UN Security Council unanimously approves sending an African-led force to help reconquer northern Mali from the Islamist militants. However the Council says all possible diplomatic avenues must be exhausted before force can be used.

France joins intervention 
2013 January - Islamist fighters capture the central town of Konna and say they will push further south. President Traore asks France for help and Paris responds by sending troops and carrying out air strikes on rebel bases.
Mali's interim president asks France for help, envoys say, as the UN Security Council calls for the "rapid" deployment of the African-led intervention force.Witnesses say that foreign troops and weapons have begun arriving by transport plane at an army base in Sevare, just 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Konna.


West African nations join intervention.
2013- Nigeria pledges 600 troops while Burkina Faso and Senegal each offer 500 for the regional force tasked with wresting back control of the north.
January 11: Malian government troops launch an offensive against Islamists with backing from France, Nigeria and Senegal, military and political sources say. French President Francois Hollande confirms French troops are actively supporting an offensive by Malian forces against Islamists.
January 12: Mali's army retakes control of Konna after one of the worst clashes with Islamists since the start of the crisis. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announces the death of a French military pilot in the battle. The clashes kill dozens of Islamists, according to the Malian military and witnesses.

January 13: France keeps up airstrikes on Mali, targeting Islamist bases in the northern city of Gao, controlled by the group MUJAO. A top Islamist leader is reported killed.
International support is ramped up as Benin, Togo and Niger all promise additional troop reinforcements and Britain says it will send aircraft for logistical support. Algeria reiterates support for its neighbour to Malian President Diango Cissoko, on a visit to Algiers.
The ECOWAS bloc convenes an emergency summit for January 19.
January 14: Islamists seize the town of Diabaly in government-held territory, 250 miles north of the capital. They vow to "strike at the heart of France".
- French warplanes pound Islamist positions in the town of Douentza in central Mali.
- Rebels abandon key northern bases under pressure from French airstrikes. Residents in the towns of Gao, Douentza and Timbuktu report all Islamists have fled, though an Ansar Dine spokesman calls it a "tactical retreat".

Taureg join in intervention. AQIM takes hostages at Algerian Gas Plant in reprisal for Mali. 
2013- Ethnic-Tuareg separatists say they are ready to support the French military intervention by taking on Islamist rebels on the ground
 January 16  Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports.


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