Drawing on newly collected empirical data, this article explores the complex long-term political relationship between the state and the military in Mali. It argues that post-2013 French intervention has lacked an understanding of the place of the military within state structures. This led to an approach to statebuilding premised on the false idea that Mali has historically been a weak state, with weakness defined in military terms. It challenges this understanding and provides a counterargument rooted in a historical approach. It highlights how the French focus on military strengthening post-2013 inadvertently created the conditions for the 2020 coup d’état.
- Historical turn