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When Diplomacy Identifies Terrorism: Subjects, Identity and Agency in the ‘War on Terror’in Mali

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Global Counterterrorism Policy
EditorsScott Nicholas Romaniuk, Francis Grice, Daniela Irrera, Stewart Webb
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781137557698
ISBN (Print)9781137557681
Published1 Mar 2017


King's Authors


Why had counterterrorism policy in Mali failed by 2012? This chapter addresses this question from the perspective of how US diplomacy’s assessment of issues, subjects and threats on the ground, and how this informed Sahel counterterrorism policy. Analysis of diplomatic communication 2006-10 demonstrates that despite considerable expertise by Bamako-based US diplomats, their considerably nuanced and detailed assessments and recommendations were ultimately ignored or deemed irrelevant.
Failure to utilise available diplomatic information and analysis was due to the dominant policy prioritisation of counterterrorism by military securitisation of territory and borders. The diplomatic communications show that this prioritisation granted the Malian government considerable influence in determining US counterterrorism policy in the country. As a result, the grievances of Mali's northern peoples were exacerbated, and extremism thrived -a tragedy considering US diplomats knew what to do.

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