Rutland on the Tuareg Separatist Movement in Mali

Peter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, discussed the conflict in Northern Mali on BBC World Service. Though the international intervention has focused on the rise of Islamist rebels in northern Mali over the past few weeks, it’s important to remember that the original spark for this conflict was a rebellion by the Tuareg separatist movement, which “drove out the Malian army and overran the north of the country.”

“Presumably on the ground, there’s a kind of confusing mixture of Tuareg objectives and the Islamic groups that moved in, having highjacked the local movement,” Rutland said. “In the long term, I assume the outcome of all this will be the crushing of any hopes the Tuaregs had for independence in norther Mali, because they’ve chosen to ally themselves with the Islamists and they’ve brought on themselves this international intervention, which can only further reduce their chances of success.”