This digital book is based around the three main players who took part in the 2012/2013 conflict in Mali: the Tuareg, Islamist rebels, and the Malian government. Tuareg rebels want their own state, or at least greater autonomy and political and economic opportunities; yet, there are many rivalries in the north between and even among different ethnic groups. Islamist rebels want to create an Islamist state in the north based on a brutal form of shari’a law, and they use drug smuggling and hostage taking as financial means. The government in Bamako wants to keep the country together and limit Tuareg and Islamist influence, but also has complicated and corrupted interests in the conflict itself. What can be done to solve the crisis, and what can stability practitioners use to counter instability and sources of insecurity? What can history and a deeper look at ethnic and racial grievances tell us? From the origins of Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), to the reasons for the coup d’etat in 2012, to the underpinnings of colonialism that helped shape Tuareg demands, Understanding Mali takes a holistic view of the current conflict in Mali, explaining all variables and perspectives in a clear and concise manner.