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2013 Gaddafi's Nemesis: Northern Mali Conflict. Part Two: Azawad and its Contenders

2013 Gaddafi's Nemesis: Northern Mali Conflict. Part Two: Azawad and its Contenders

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Published by Virgilio_Ilari

Northern Mali Conflict and Tuareg Rebellion accordiong to en. wikipedia as at January 12th 2013. Part Two. A compilation by Virgilio Ilari

Northern Mali Conflict and Tuareg Rebellion accordiong to en. wikipedia as at January 12th 2013. Part Two. A compilation by Virgilio Ilari

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Published by: Virgilio_Ilari on Jan 13, 2013
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 Gaddafi’s Nemesis:Northern Mali conflict
(17 January 2012– 12 January 2013)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Part Two:Azawad and its Contenders
Smile, And The World Smiles With You by MykReeve (flickr.com)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Map of Azawad, as claimed by theMNLA. Dark grey dots indicate regions with aTuaregmajority. The west is mainly inhabited byMoorsand the south bysub-Saharanpeoples.
 Fula Hass
ya Arabic French 
 Transitional Council of the State of Azawad(Conseil de Transition de l'Etat del'Azawad, CTEA)
- 2012Bilal Ag Acherif 
Vice President
 - 2012Mahamadou Djeri Maïga
 -Declaration of independence
6 April 2012-Battle of Gao
27 June 2012- Fall of Ansongo 
12 July 2012
ⴰ ⵣⴰ ⵓ ⴷ
) is a territory situated innorthernMalias well as a formerunrecognisedstate. Itsindependence was declared unilaterallyby theNational Movement for the Liberation of Azawad(MNLA) in 2012 after aTuareg rebelliondrove theMalian Armyfrom the territory. Azawad, as claimed by the MNLA, comprises theMalian regionsof Timbuktu,Kidal,Gao, as well as a part of  Mopti region,
encompassing about 60 percent of Mali's total land area. Azawad bordersBurkina Fasoto the south,Mauritaniato the west and northwest,Algeriato the north and northeast, andNigerto the east and southeast, with undisputed Mali to its southwest. It straddles a portion of theSaharaand theSahelian zone.Gaois its largest city and served as the temporary capital,
whileTimbuktuis the second-largest city, and intended to be the capital.
On 6 April2012, in a statement posted to its website, the MNLA declared "irrevocably" the independence of Azawad fromMali. InGao on the same day,Bilal Ag Acherif , the secretary-general of the movement, signed theAzawadi Declaration of  Independence, which also declared the MNLA as the interim administrators of Azawad until a "national authority" isformed.
The proclamation has yet to be recognised by a foreign entity,
and even the MNLA's claim to have
de facto
 control of the Azawad region is disputed.
TheEconomic Community of West African States, which refused torecognise Azawad and called the declaration of its independence "null and void", has said it may send troops into the
disputed region in support of the Malian claim.
On 26 May, the MNLA and its former co-belligerentAnsar Dine announced a pact in which they would merge to form anIslamiststate.
However, some later reports indicated theMNLA had decided to withdraw from the pact, distancing itself from Ansar Dine.
Ansar Dine later declared thatthey rejected the idea of Azawad independence.
The MNLA and Ansar Dine continued to clash,
culminating in theBattle of Gaoon 27 June, in which the Islamist groupsMovement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africaand Ansar Dine took control of the city, driving out the MNLA. The following day, Ansar Dine announced that it was in control of allthe cities of northern Mali.
According to Scottish explorer and scientistRobert Brown, Azawad is an Arabiccorruptionof theBerberword "Azawagh", a dry river basin that covers western Niger, northeastern Mali, and southern Algeria.
The name translatesto "land of transhumance".
On 6 April 2012, in a statement posted to its website, the MNLA declared theindependence of Azawad from Mali. In this Azawad Declaration of Independence the name
 Independent State of  Azawad 
was used
État indépendant de l’Azawad 
 Arabic: ,
 Dawlat Azaw
d al- Mustaqillah
). On 26 May, the MNLA and its former co-belligerent Ansar Dine announced a pact in which they wouldmerge to form an Islamist state – according to the media the new long name of Azawad was used in this pact. But thisnew name is not clear – sources list few variants of it: the
 Islamic Republic of Azawad 
 République islamiquede l’Azawad 
 Islamic State of Azawad 
État islamique de l’Azawad 
), the
 Republic of Azawad 
 Azawad authorities didn’t officially confirm any change of name yet. Moreover, some later reports indicated the MNLAhad decided to withdraw from the pact with Ansar Dine. In a new statement, dated on 9 June, MNLA uses the name
State of Azawad 
État de l’Azawad 
The MNLA has unveiled the list of 28 members of the TransitionalCouncil of the State of Azawad (Conseil de Transition de l'Etat de l'Azawad, CTEA) serving as a provisionalgovernment with PresidentBilal Ag Acherif to manage the new State of Azawad.
HistoryHistory of Azawad 
Gao Empire Songhai Empire Pashalik of Timbuktu French Sudan Tuareg rebellion (1962– 1964) Tuareg rebellion (1990–1995) Tuareg rebellion (2007–2009) Tuareg rebellion (2012) 
Independent State of Azawad
Gao, Mali and Songhai empires
TheGao Empireowes its name to the town of Gao. In the ninth century AD, it was considered to be the most powerful West African kingdom.In the early 14th century, the southern part of the region came under the control of theMali Empire, including thepeaceful annexation of Timbuktu byKing Musa Iin 1324, as he returned from his famous pilgrimage toMecca.
Withthe power of theMali Empirewaning in the first half of the 15th century, the area around Timbuktu became relativelyautonomous, although Maghsharan Tuareg
had a dominant position.
Thirty years later however, the risingSonghay Empireexpanded in Gao, absorbing Timbuktu in 1468 or 1469 and much of the surrounding area. The citywas led, consecutively, bySunni Ali Ber(1468–1492),Sunni Baru(1492–1493) andAskia Mohammad I(1493–1528). Although Sunni Ali Ber was in severe conflict with Timbuktu after its conquest, Askia Mohammad I created agoldenagefor both the Songhay Empire and Timbuktu through an efficient central and regional administration and allowedsufficient leeway for the city's commercial centers to flourish.
With Gao the capital of the empire, Timbuktuenjoyed a relatively autonomous position. Merchants fromGhadames,Awjilah, and numerous other cities of North Africa gathered there to buy gold and slavesin exchange for the Saharan salt of Taghazaand for North African clothand horses.
Leadership of the Empire stayed in the Askia dynasty until 1591, when internal fights weakened thedynasty's grip.
Moroccan expedition
Following theBattle of Tondibiin a village just north of Gao, the city was captured on 30 May1591 by an expedition of 4,000Andalusian Moriscos, 500mercenariesand 2,500 auxiliaries, including slaves, dubbed theArma. They were sent by theSaadiruler of Morocco,Ahmad I al-Mansur, and were led by Morisco GeneralJudar Pashain search of gold mines. Pasha was born into a family of Spanish Muslims in Morocco, banished by the SpanishCrown following the failedAlpujarras uprising of 1568–71.
The sacking of Gao marked the effective end of theSonghai as a regional power
and its economic and intellectual decline,
as increasing trans-atlantic trade routes –transporting African slaves, including leaders and scholars of Timbuktu – marginalised Gao and Timbuktu's role astrade and scholarly centers.
The consequence of the Moroccan expedition was the formation of thePashalik of Timbuktu. While initially controlling the Morocco – Timbuktu trade routes, Morocco soon cut its ties with the Armaand the grip of the numerous subsequent
on Timbuktu began losing its strength. By 1630, the colony wasindependent and had been indigenised through intermarriage and local alliances. Songhay never regained control andsmallertaifakingdoms were created.
 Tuaregtemporarily took over control in 1737 and the remainder of the 18thcentury saw various Tuareg tribes,BambaraandKountabriefly occupy or besiege the city.
During this period, theinfluence of the
, who by then had mixed with the Songhay through intermarriage, never completelydisappeared.
TheMassina Empiretook control of Timbuktu in 1826, holding it until 1865, when they were drivenaway byEl Hadj Umar Tall'sToucouleur Empire. Sources conflict on who was in control when the French arrived: Elias N. Saad in 1983 suggests theSoninke Wangara,
a 1924 article in the Journal of the Royal African Societymentions the Tuareg,
whileAfricanist John Hunwickdoes not determine one ruler, but notes several states competing for power 'in a shadowy way' until 1893.
Under French rule
After European powers formalized thescramble for Africain theBerlin Conference, land between the 14thmeridianand Miltou, South-WestChad, became French territory, bounded in the south by a line running from Say, Nigerto Baroua. Although the Azawad region was now French in name, theprinciple of effectivityrequired France to actually hold power in those areas assigned, e.g. by signing agreements with local chiefs, setting up a

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