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The Competence, Willingness, and Empowerment of Counterinsurgency Forces in Northern Mali in 2012–2013


In 2012, Islamist violent non-state actors in northern Mali succeeded in
fighting against the Malian army, and they got the entire north Malian
territory under their control. This paper seeks to answer the question of
why the Islamists were dislodged and the territory was brought back under
the control of the Malian state only after a time gap of one year. Using the
theoretical conception of an enemy-centric approach, the criteria of
competence, willingness, empowerment, and the successful execution of
the counterinsurgency military operation are conceptualized. The paper
uses this research framework to analyze the actions of the three
counterinsurgency actors – Mali, ECOWAS/CÉDÉAO, and France – and
explains the above-mentioned gap. The research shows that IVNSAs were
eliminated and the ability of the (Malian) state to control the territory was
restored only when the counterinsurgency actor (France) was able to
accomplish the given criteria of competence, willingness, and
empowerment simultaneously.


(northern) Mali, ECOWAS/CÉDÉAO, France, Islamist violent non-state actors, competence, willingness, empowerment, successful execution of the counterinsurgency military operation

PDF Research Article (Czech)

Author Biography

Zdeněk Ludvík

Zdeněk Ludvík, born in 1968, he is an internal PhD candidate at the Department of
International Relations at the Institute of Political Studies at Charles
University in Prague. He has graduated summa cum laude and received a
Bachelor's and a Master's degree in International Relations and European
Studies at the Metropolitan University in Prague. He specializes in the
issues of violent non-state actors, territorial governance and geopolitics,
French foreign policy, and Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.