Azaouad or Azawad/Azawagh is a name for parts of northern Mali, northern Niger, and part of southern Algeria, mainly made up of Sahelian and Saharan geography. It does not correspond to any single administrative region of Mali, Niger, or Algeria, but includes portions of the Kidal Region of Mali and the Tahoua Region and Agadez Region of Niger, and portions of southern Algeria. [cite web|url=|title=Who are the Tuareg?|publisher=Al Jazeera|date=2008-07-14|accessdate=2008-07-14]


The Azawad has historically referred to the dry river valley, which once carried a Northern arm of the Niger River. The Azawad river ran some 1600 km in prehistoric times (drying finally after the Neolithic Subpluvial: 7th to 4th millennium BCE ), and created a basin of some 420000 km². Its valley, which geologists call the Iullemmeden Basin, forms in the western foothills of the Aïr Mountains curves through the Sahara Dessert of modern Niger and Mali, meeting the Niger near Gao. It is bordered to the east by the Adrar des Ifoghas massif of modern Mali and Algeria, to the south by the Niger river in the west and the Ader Douchi hills in the east, and depending upon interpretation, runs north to the southern foothills of the Hoggar massif. [ [ Agelal and Asekra Uranium Projects, Niger. Technical Report Prepared by RSG Global Consulting Pty Ltd on behalf of: Homeland Uranium Inc (August 2007)] . See "Geological Setting", pp.19-23.]

In Mali, the name Azawak is used for the area, while in Niger, Azawagh is often used. In Niger, Azawagh generally includes the towns of Abalagh (Abalak), In Tibaraden (Tchin-Tabaraden), Tiliya, In Gal, Tabalaq, a village where the sole lake of the region is located.

Cultural groups

The area is dominated by Tuareg tribal populations, as well as nomadic minorities, including Hassaniyya-speaking Moors (also called "Azawagh Arabs", not to be confused with Niger's Diffa Arabs) in the northwest border and the Wodaabe Fula in Niger. Azawagh is the centre for the Iwellemeden Kel Denneg federation. [For an introduction to the culture of the "Azawagh Arabs", see: Rebecca Popenoe. Feeding Desire - Fatness, Beauty and Sexuality among a Saharan People. Routledge, London (2003) ISBN 0415280966]

Conflict and separatist movements

Traditionally, there has been some resentment of central Malian control over the region, and several separatist or other rebel groups have been active in the region, notably in the civil war in Mali of the early 1990s. In this period, groups claiming independence for the area, and also for the broader Azawagh and Ayr region first appeared.

Some of these movements have claimed it as part of a wider pan-Saharan Touareg homeland, while others have been content to demand improved services and/or autonomous status for the region. In late 2006, a flare-up in fighting in the Kidal Region was ended by Algerian mediation between the central government and Touareg rebels.


* Pascal James Imperato. Historical Dictionary of Mali. Scarecrow Press/ Metuchen. NJ - London (1986) ISBN 0810813696
* James Decalo. Historical Dictionary of Niger. Scarecrow Press/ Metuchen. NJ - London (1979) ISBN 0810812290
* Portions of this article were translated from the French Language Wikipedia ariticles and , 2008-07-14.

ee also

Organizations using the Azaouad name

*Tuareg Rebellion of the 1990s
** Arab Islamic Front of Azawad
** Popular Movement for the Liberation of Azawad
*Second Tuareg Rebellion
**Niger Movement for Justice(MNJ)
**Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Sahara(FARS)

Geographic and geologic features

*Sahara Desert
*Air Massif
*Niger River
*Niger Basin Authority

Prehistoric Sahara

*Sahara pump theory
*Neolithic Subpluvial
*Prehistoric Central North Africa

External links

* [ Tuareg Liberation Front]
* [ Programm Mali Nord]

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