Name of leader         Iyad ag Ghali (Malian Iyad Ag Ghali)

 

Organization                     Popular Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MPA)

Conflict country               Mali

 

Gender                               Male   

    

Year of birth                      1958 [1]

 

Place of birth                   Abeibera, Mali [2]

 

Year of death                   N/A [3]

 

 

Deceased

 

No, there is no evidence he has died.

 

Birth order

 

His birth order is unknown.

 

Age at start of rebel leadership


He helped spark the rebellion ion June 29, 1990 with his attack. He would have been 32 years old.

Leader entry method


He was the founder.[4]

Powersharing

 

No, there is no evidence that he was not the top leader.

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

It is unclear. However, it is certainly nothing above secondary school, possibly far less.[5]

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Yes,[6] he had a wife.[7]

 

Children

 

There was no evidence he had children.

 

Religious identification

 

He is Muslim.[8]

 

Elite Family background

 

Yes, he is from “the great family of Ifoghas”.[9] Additionally, his father was a Tuareg soldier that sided with the government during a failed rebellion in 1963. When Iyad was six his father was shot and killed by a rebel commander.[10]
He was a “son of a breeder, from a powerful Tuareg tribe of the Ifoghas, who reigns over part of northern Mali” [11]

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made


Yes, he founded a rebel group after fleeing to Libya and then joined the Islamic Legion.[12]
Libyan military training camps and joined Colonel Gaddafi’s Islamic Legion.” [13]
He was “on board a French steamship in the company of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.” This began the game between him and the French military.[14] He was “close with the central authorities in Bamko in 2007.[15]

Physical and mental health

 

No, there is no evidence of poor physical or mental health.

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

“He survived, like thousands of Tuareg exiles… doing odd jobs- gardening, carpentry, housepainting, and herding cattle, goats, and sheep.”[16]

 

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties


Yes, he had experience in a state military. It is reported that he was a career infantryman.[17]

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties


Yes, a couple years after fleeing to Libya he founded a rebel group.[18] In the 1970s he joined Moammar Gadhafi’s Islamic Legion in Libya.[19] He visited the “Libyan military training camps and joined Colonel Gaddafi’s Islamic Legion.”[20] 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

Yes, “Ag Ghali was sent to fight against Chad in the 1980s, and fought in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.”[21] He was a career infantryman for Libya and was sent to Lebanon.[22] He saw combat with the Palestinians against the Israelis.[23]

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence he held a government position.

Lived in exile?

 

Yes, at 16 after a terrible drought hit the north, he fled the country, ending up in Libya.[24] He was in Paris when he organized his rebellion.[25] He was described to be in exile when in the military and traveling to Beirut and Chad in the early 1980s. [26]

 

Study abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he studied abroad.

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

Yes, “he underwent training at a military camp in the Libyan Sahara established in the early 1980s by Qaddafi, ostensibly to prepare the Tuareg exiles for another uprising, but primarily to train disposable young fighters for Libya’s military adventures in Africa and the Middle East.”[27] He visited the “Libyan military training camps and joined Colonel Gaddafi’s Islamic Legion.”[28]

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

He was an infantryman in Libya.[29]

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

No, there is no evidence he served time in prison, although he was wanted by the U.S. and France.[30]

 

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

 

No, there is no evidence of an assassination attempt by the state.

Cause of Death?

 

N/A

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

Unknown. 
He speaks Arabic.[31] He also speaks French well.[32]  He speaks and writes Tuareg.[33]

 

 

[1]Image Credit: https://d.newsweek.com/en/full/563360/iyad-ag-ghaly.jpg?w=737&f=378bb7c64ff26870c6d074013aee62a2
(For non-commercial use, all credits belong to the original owners, please contact for removal)
Christophe Boisbouvier, Cherif Ouazani, and Baba Ahmed, “Mali: Report Profiles `Masters of the North`,” Jeune Afrique, April 20, 2012 Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.biyokulule.com/view_content.php?articleid=4602

[2]   Christophe Boisbouvier, Cherif Ouazani, and Baba Ahmed, “Mali: Report Profiles `Masters of the North`,” Jeune Afrique, April 20, 2012 Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.biyokulule.com/view_content.php?articleid=4602.

[3] Al-Sheikh Mohamed, “Iyad Ag Ghali: Mali’s Desert Fox,” Asharq Alawsat, February 15, 2013, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[4] “Mali : Iyad Ag Ghali, rebelle dans l’âme” [Mali: Iyad Ag Ghali, rebel in the soul], October 2, 2012, Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/139884/politique/mali-iyad-ag-ghali-rebelle-dans-l-me/.

[5]  Joshua Hammer, Praise for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 81-82. 

[6]  “Mali : Iyad Ag Ghali, rebelle dans l’âme” [Mali: Iyad Ag Ghali, rebel in the soul], October 2, 2012, Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/139884/politique/mali-iyad-ag-ghali-rebelle-dans-l-me/.

[7] Al-Sheikh Mohamed, “Iyad Ag Ghali: Mali’s Desert Fox,” Asharq Alawsat, Translated through google, February 15, 2013, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[8]  “Africa: Mali,” CIA, Accessed November 5, 2017, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ml.html.

[9] “Mali : Iyad Ag Ghali, rebelle dans l’âme” [Mali: Iyad Ag Ghali, rebel in the soul], October 2, 2012, Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/139884/politique/mali-iyad-ag-ghali-rebelle-dans-l-me/.

[10] Joshua Hammer, Praise for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 81-82.

[11] Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[12] Joshua Hammer, Praise for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 81-82.

[13] Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis.

[14]  Al-Sheikh Mohamed, “Iyad Ag Ghali: Mali’s Desert Fox,” Asharq Alawsat, February 15, 2013, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[15]  Al-Sheikh Mohamed, “Iyad Ag Ghali: Mali’s Desert Fox,” Asharq Alawsat, February 15, 2013, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[16]  Joshua Hammer, Praise for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 81-82.

[17]  Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[18] Joshua Hammer, Praise for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 81-82.

[19]  Martin Vogl,  “Spotlight on leader of Islamist group in Mali,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 27, 2012, Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-spotlight-on-leader-of-islamist-group-in-mali-2012apr27-story.html.

[20]  Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[21]   Martin Vogl,  “Spotlight on leader of Islamist group in Mali,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 27, 2012, Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-spotlight-on-leader-of-islamist-group-in-mali-2012apr27-story.html.

[22]  Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[23]  Al-Sheikh Mohamed, “Iyad Ag Ghali: Mali’s Desert Fox,” Asharq Alawsat, February 15, 2013, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[24]  Joshua Hammer, Praise for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 81-82.

[25]  Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[26]  SaraHalifa-Legrand, “Iyad Ag Ghali, the Tuareg Rebel Became the Enemy of France,” The Obs, translated through google, March 18, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[27] Joshua Hammer, Praise for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 81-82.

[28] Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[29] Cyril Bensimon Nathalie, “Iyad Ag-Ghali, the Number One Enemy of France in Mali,” Le Monde, July 29, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[30] Patrick Forestier, “Sahel: in the Hunt for the Terrorist Leader Iyad Ag Ghali,” Africa Point, December 6, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[31] Christophe Boisbouvier, Cherif Ouazani, and Baba Ahmed, “Mali: Report Profiles `Masters of the North`,” Jeune Afrique, April 20, 2012 Accessed November 5, 2017, http://www.biyokulule.com/view_content.php?articleid=4602.

[32]  SaraHalifa-Legrand, “Iyad Ag Ghali, the Tuareg Rebel Became the Enemy of France,” The Obs, Translated through google, March 18, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis. 

[33]  SaraHalifa-Legrand, “Iyad Ag Ghali, the Tuareg Rebel Became the Enemy of France,” The Obs, March 18, 2018, Accessed December 18, 2018 through Lexus Nexis.