Ansar al-Sharia (Mali)

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Ansar al-Sharia (Mali) (Partisans of Islamic Law) is a radical Islamist group that operates in the Azawad region of Mali.

Background[edit]

Following the Azawad insurgency in 2012, the northern region of Mali achieved de facto independence from the Mali central government, with the region taken over by a number of Islamist groups including Ansar Dine, Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

On 9 December 2012, a group of Malian Islamists in the city of Gao announced the creation of a new group called Ansar al-Sharia, a name used by recently founded organisations in a number of Muslim countries including Yemen, Libya and Tunisia.[1]

Most of the group's leaders are from the Arab tribe of Barabiche from Timbuktu; some of the families of this tribe reportedly have relations by marriage with elements of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.[2] The ethnic makeup of this group is in contrast to that of the Tuareg-dominated Ansar Dine.

Like the other Ansar al-Sharia groups, the branch in Mali is described as based on certain principles, such as opposition to democracy, Salafist Jihadism ideology and the goal of establishing an Islamic emirate.[1] Its formation was not accompanied by the provision of aid and religious preaching that has been typical of other branches of Ansar al-Sharia.[3]

Following the 2013 French intervention in northern Mali, the Jihadist groups formerly running the region switched to fighting an insurgency; however, Ansar al-Sharia has not been credited with participating in any of them.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Raby Ould Idoumou (12 December 2012). "Ansar al-Sharia sets up shop in Mali". Magharebia. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Thomas Joscelyn (18 December 2012). "Ansar al Sharia in Mali". Long War Journal. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Ansar al-Sharia International & the Politics of Self Sacrifice". Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle Eastern Conflicts. 2013-07-20. Retrieved 2014-06-20.