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Azawad, Mali

Last modified: 2013-11-12 by ian macdonald
Keywords: mali | azawad | ansar dine |
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[Djenné, Mali] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 17 November 2012

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Description of the flag

Various media are reporting the declaration of independence of Azawad from Mali by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA). The insurgency commenced in January 2012 following an attack in the Kidal province in the north of the country near the border with Algeria. Following the recent coup in Mali, the rebels made further inroads and were joined by other Tuareg rebels who have long complained of being marginalised within Mali.

Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azawad_Declaration_of_Independence) states that the Secretary-General of the MNLA signed the independence declaration in Gao, the site of the largest Malian military outpost in the north, on 6 April, 2012 after which it was announced on French television. The declaration was issued in the "voice of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad". The declaration was said to have been issued in consultation with the Executive Committee, the Revolutionary Council, the Consultative Council, the State-Major of the Army of Liberation and the regional offices. The document concluded by adding that the new state declared by the MNLA would recognise international state borders, despite having split the traditional Azawagh over several modern-day states; absolute accordance with the UN Charter; and a commitment by the MNLA to establish the "conditions for a durable peace" and create state institutions in accordance with a democratic constitution. Before "irrevocably" acclaiming the Independent State of Azawad, the document called on the Executive Committee, who would run the country in the interim period, to invite the international community to immediately recognise the new state in the interests of "justice and peace.

Wikipedia is also showing the flag of Azawad as having green, red and black horizontal stripes with a yellow triangle at the hoist. According to Wikipedia the design of the flag is based on the flag of Palestine and rendered in the Pan African colours. No further explanation is given on the symbolism.
Bruce Berry, 6 April 2012

Rebels in northern Mali have recently occupied Timbuktu, with AP reports (http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1155162--mali-crisis-deepens-as-islamist-group-plants-flag-in-timbuktu?bn=1) mentioning the black flag of Islamist group Ansar Dine flying in the city. Presumably this is the same black flag with white shahada that is used by various Islamist groups around the world, described on the pages for Hizb-ut-Tahrir and the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia.

It's not clear whether/how Ansar Dine is connected with Azawad National Liberation Movement MNLA. A post at the blog Sahel Sounds (http://sahelsounds.com/?p=998) interprets the significance of this flag in terms of the pan-African colours, combined with black in a way that recalls the Palestinian flag and their similar struggle. I note also that the logo in a montage shown in that post shows the green-red-black with yellow triangle flag together with the "MNA" initials. This suggests that the flag may predate the formation of the MNLA in late 2011, although there are other possible explanations.
Jonathan Dixon, 5 April 2012

Ansar Dine does not properly have a flag, but rather uses the Al-Qaida related flag and Ansar Dine is not part of the MNLA in Mali, but a different organization. The issue is that they (MNLA and Ansar Dine) are coordinating operations to take different parts of Azawad according to their own areas of influence in order to overthrow the current military regime, that goal being part of the Turaeg Rebellion 2012 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuareg_rebellion_(2012)).

Yesterday, April 5, 2012, after the capture of Douentza (see official communiqué here:
http://www.mnlamov.net/component/content/article/168-communique-nd15042012-mnla.html), the MNLA said that it had accomplished its goals and called off its offensive. Today, April 6, 2012 (the MNLA) proclaimed Azawad's independence from Mali (see official communiqué here: http://www.mnlamov.net/component/content/article/169-declaration-dindependance-de-lazawad.html).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuareg_rebellion_(2012)
Esteban Rivera, 6 April 2012

Various media are reporting the declaration of independence of Azawad from Mali by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA). The insurgency commenced in January 2012 following an attack in the Kidal province in the north of the country near the border with Algeria. Following the recent coup in Mali, the rebels made further inroads and were joined by other Tuareg rebels who have long complained of being marginalised within Mali.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azawad_Declaration_of_Independence) states that the Secretary-General of the MNLA signed the independence declaration in Gao, the site of the largest Malian military outpost in the north, on 6 April, 2012 after which it was announced on French television. The declaration was issued in the "voice of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad". The declaration was said to have been issued in consultation with the Executive Committee, the Revolutionary Council, the Consultative Council, the State-Major of the Army of Liberation and the regional offices. The document concluded by adding that the new state declared by the MNLA would recognise international state borders, despite having split the traditional Azawagh over several modern-day states; absolute accordance with the UN Charter; and a commitment by the MNLA to establish the "conditions for a durable peace" and create state institutions in accordance with a democratic constitution. Before "irrevocably" acclaiming the Independent State of Azawad, the document called on the Executive Committee, who would run the country in the interim period, to invite the international community to immediately recognise the new state in the interests of "justice and peace.

Wikipedia is also showing the flag of Azawad as having green, red and black horizontal stripes with a yellow triangle at the hoist. According to Wikipedia the design of the flag is based on the flag of Palestine and rendered in the Pan African colours. No further explanation is given on the symbolism.
Bruce Berry, 6 April 2012


Islamist Rebel Flag?

[Djenné, Mali] image located by David Phillips, 15 January 2013

AFP image at http://www.france24.com/en/files/element_multimedia/image/mali-touareg-m.jpg
Article at http://www.france24.com/en/20120612-northern-mali-peace-dealer-or-wrecker-nine-lives-ansar-dine-chief-iyad-ag-ghali
Caption reads: Islamist rebels of Ansar Dine pictured on April 24, 2012, near Timbuktu, in rebel-held northern Mali, during the release of a Swiss hostage. (AFP PHOTO / ROMARIC OLLO HIEN)

The image in the white circle appears to be an outline map of Azawad, the secessionist northern part of Mali now under Islamic rule.

It is not clear what the script is -- it might be a kind of demotic Arabic script. It doesn't appear to be Tifinagh script.
David Phillips, 15 January 2013

This flag looks very similar to the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Organization.
Esteban Rivera, 23 February 2013