The Mali crisis provoked by the coup d' tat of March 2012 led to the collapse of the democratic Malian state, a jihadist Al Qaida take-over of North Mali, and the return of the French Foreign Legion to the Sahara after 54 years of Malian Independence. With 12,000 UN peacekeepers (MINUSMA) and the election of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2013, the prospects for peace and democracy in Mali looked brighter ... until IBK'e exhausted regime was overthrown in the coup of August 2020. What mechanisms exist within Malian society and its social capital that might build a sustainable peace economy? How can women mobilize family networks to promote peace and to create employment? Will their efforts avert another round of civil war in 2025 or 2030? Mali suffers from two related crises, and the 2015 peace negotiations with Tuareg and Arab armed movements address the lesser of the two. In fact the crisis in North Mali has been largely provoked by the failure of the State, by a combination of dire poverty, galloping demography, bad governance and questionable legitimacy in a Nation State that has been corrupted by military rule for most of its short existence. The core crisis is in Bamako, the capital city.This book highlights major international themes such as democratic governance, decentralization and political legitimacy; "terrorism" and Islamic fundamentalism; and great power resource-rivalry over oil, gas and uranium lying under the Sahara Desert. Mali is a victim of corporate desires for mineral extraction, but also of cocaine trafficking from South America and a struggle for the leadership of Sunni Islam, all of which have helped undermine Mali's fragile, secular institutions. The Tuareg revolt of the 1990s and the arrival of Malian democracy have been described in detail, but no one has yet told the full story of Mali in the early 21st century-explaining why democracy collapsed, where the Arab jihadists came from, and why France went to war against Al Qaida in the Sahel and in the Islamic Maghreb-a security zone that Europeans neglect at their peril.Our story should have ended optimistically after the election of Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as Mali's new President, sworn in on September 4th 2013-and the impending trial of the Malian coup leader for the murder of rival soldiers, a plot line filled with mass graves and questions about American and British and French complicity with Algeria and Al Qaida. Instead, events during 2014 and 2020 have raised more questions than answers. While we offer recipes for peace building and routes towards peace and sustainable development, the continuing stories of cocaine mafias, Mali's local corruption and its venal international partners push us towards a pessimistic conclusion.The book includes 12 short "conversations" with Malian political figures, mediators and well-informed commentators. This "multi-voice" format allows our book to offer a range of interpretations for the dramatic events in Mali 2012-2015. We do not necessarily agree with the views expressed in all these conversations, and this gives them extra value.