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Thread: Mali mainly, 2012 coup, drugs & more

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Mali mainly, 2012 coup, drugs & more

    Letter from Timbuktu, by Austin Merrill. Vanity Fair Web Exclusive, September 10, 2007. http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/09/sahara200709
    The Pentagon has allotted $500 million to the fight against terrorism in the Sahara Desert, using American Special Forces teams to train African armies and befriend locals. Vanity Fair was invited to join the U.S. military on a recent mission to Timbuktu, Mali, to get an up-close look at one of the lesser-known fronts in the battle against al-Qaeda.
    by Austin Merrill WEB EXCLUSIVE September 10, 2007

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    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Question Guinea-Bissau and the drug trade?

    Over the past few years or so(since at least 2006) elements of Columbian drug cartels have been setting up business in the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, In hopes of both getting out up of an increasingly hostile environment in Columbia for the cartels as well as finding a route to further their trade into Europe. From what I understand the Columbian Cartels and other elements of the drug trade from Latin America have been stepping up their business in the West African nation, especially recently. Also Iíve heard that the Columbians/Latin Americans in Guinea-Bissau are being joined by other organizations like criminal gangs/mafias from Russia and Eastern Europe as well as militant groups from the Middle East like Hezbollah have set up shop there also, all trying to make money from the illicit trade recently established in the West African nation.

    So I was wondering if any SWJ members would mind telling me more about what is happening Guinea-Bissau and where I could find more information on the drug trade recently established there and whether all of this is overblown or not?

    Thank you,

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    Council Member Commando Spirit's Avatar
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    Default Mali mainly and drugs in West Africa

    (Moderator's Note Athis appeared as a RFI and was moved to the Africa thread 27/6/2010, where it sits better now; PM to originator. Mod's Note BTitle of thread changed to reflect two subjects covered Mali mainly and drugs in the region).

    Does anyone know anything about Mali please? I'm about to do some research on the place and given the level of expertise in here thought that SWJ was a good place to start.

    Are there any security issues there? Any potential conflict?

    Historical involvement in conflicts around Africa?

    Sorry to be so Billy Basic but I have to start this off somewhere!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-14-2011 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note A and later B
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mali: the quest begins

    Being a former French colony and until recently in an obscure part of West Africa / Sahel Mali has an amazingly low profile. Try the standard newsites like the BBC or the CIA and others for a country profile.

    Mali has recently featured in some UK-funded counter-radicalisation work, with a conference for clerics in Bamako; which appeared in The Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...l-leaders.html

    and within the last few weeks a crashed aircraft loaded with cocaine. AQIM is rumoured to have a presence in the north and linked to kidnapping of foriegners. Just put Mali in Google News and its all there.

    There is a specialist website, partly in French IIRC: http://www.thecroissant.com/index.html (behind a paywall alas)

    The US Africa Command has had a training mission there and exercises.

    Not sure how strong the French connection is now, so have a look for Frech experts?
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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commando Spirit View Post
    Does anyone know anything about Mali please? I'm about to do some research on the place and given the level of expertise in here thought that SWJ was a good place to start.

    Are there any security issues there? Any potential conflict?

    Historical involvement in conflicts around Africa?

    Sorry to be so Billy Basic but I have to start this off somewhere!
    The French are still there, in fact one of them was recently kidnapped in Western Mali.

    Security issues abound in Sub Saharen Africa and Mali is no exception. If you are looking for searches, look into Mali and the Tuaregs. There is a great deal to be found on that subject. Also search for Mali and AQIM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    ....Security issues abound in Sub Saharen Africa and Mali is no exception. If you are looking for searches, look into Mali and the Tuaregs. There is a great deal to be found on that subject. Also search for Mali and AQIM.
    The Tuareg rebels in the north are led by Ibrahim Ag Bahanga and grouped under the Alliance Touareg Nord-Mali pour le Changement (ATNMC).

    When looking into security and conflict, don't restrict yourself to Mali. Many issues are regionally linked throughout the Sahel. Look into crime, smuggling and terrorism, separately and together.

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    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    Default A French view on Mali

    Commando spirit

    As Iím French, I may enter in the discussionÖ But Mali is not the part of Africa I am the most familiar with.

    Good sources to start with and be familiar with what is going on there is to look at
    www.rfi.fr
    www.afrik.com/mali
    www.Allafrica.com (especially the French version).

    If you read French, then go to Karthala (http://www.karthala.com/index.php) and Harmathan (http://www.harmattan.fr/index.asp).
    It is the two main French editors for development, history, security research books.
    You may find some stuff in English in their catalogue (but I doubt of it).

    In English:
    http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/qui...li&searchtype=
    You will find a lot of publications on Mali. Mostly development oriented but will help you to understand the economic and sociological issues there, often linked with security/political issues. In Africa, I would say that economy and politic/security are bound and melted.

    I do not know how much this will help as itís not Mali focussed only. But as Jedburgh said, most of the issues are regional. I can orient you to two main French think tanks:

    IFRI, Subsaharian African issues (English version)
    http://www.ifri.org/?page=detail_research_center&id=1

    IRIS, African issues (English version)
    http://www.iris-france.org/en/aires-...he/afrique.php

    If you will be assigned in Mali, basically you have to speak French. Just like I, I have to speak English to work in East and Southern Africa. Just donít assume that Malians will speak English.
    If you need more specific oriented docs in French mostly, just contact me, I may help.

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    Council Member Commando Spirit's Avatar
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    As with other areas on SWJ, your advice is hugely appreciated; many thanks.

    CS
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    Default Mali watching

    I mentioned the crashed jet with cocaine aboard and now this BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8422010.stm

    A court in the US has for the first time charged suspected members of al-Qaeda with plotting to traffic cocaine in order to fund terrorism. (later on)..The informant claimed in secretly taped conversations that the FARC were looking for a secure means of smuggling drugs through western and northern Africa on the way to Europe.
    The crime-terror nexus so beloved by some analysts. There are US newspaper reports too, on today's SWJ news round up.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-27-2010 at 03:21 PM.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Belated arrival

    Try this article: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/20...d-in-the-sand/ by a UK reporter who works the region and has his own website: http://simanowitz.ning.com/ (Mali is not the focus, but Western Sahara).
    davidbfpo

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    I have spoken with a few people who think that the FARC connection is strongest in Guinea-Bissau. I was there over the summer- little to no government control of the hundreds of small islands off the coast and a corrupt military with more officers than enlisted- bad recipe. When the chief of the military in GB, Tagme, was assassinated last spring he was killed by a bomb, more typical of a FARC like operation that what was seen in GB before. A few AQ linked people were arrested there for the murder of French tourists in Mauritania. Overall, I think the AQ connection is pretty weak in West Africa in general- one of those cases where they put up the flag and we throw millions of dollars away. The drug connection is another story however with the decline of the dollar relative to the euro.
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L19487497.htm

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mali & AQ

    A commentary:http://www.globalpost.com/print/5526099 and the summary:
    If Mali doesn't get its act together and combat terrorism, years of good governance could give way to a hotbed of extremism.
    Nothing new, I'd call this another attempt to publicly pressurise the Mali state.
    davidbfpo

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    Default French hostage stirs up a storm

    The BBC:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8533195.stm

    A French hostage who was being held by al-Qaeda's North African wing in Mali has been freed days after four militants were released from jail. The group had threatened to kill Pierre Camatte, abducted from a hotel near the border with Niger on 25 November, if its four members were not set free. Mali's authorities said the four had served their sentences and were due to be freed.
    But their release sparked outrage in Algeria and Mauritania.
    French President Sarkozy meets French ex-hostage in Mali:http://af.reuters.com/article/topNew...61O01G20100225
    davidbfpo

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    Default Spanish hostage out

    A Spanish woman kidnapped in West Africa last year has been freed, the Spanish government says.
    Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8559985.stm
    davidbfpo

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    Default It's all cotton

    Apparently Mali's cotton growers are the most productive growers there are and their main competition comes from state subsidised US cotton farmers. Cited as an example of 'double standards' when the West meets the Muslim world and even featured in WTO discussions. Clue from a Swiss diplomat this week when speaking in London.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Al-Qaeda frees abducted Italian couple in Mali

    BBC report on a matter not captured here before:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8626306.stm
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Saharan states to open joint HQ

    BBC reports:
    Four Saharan desert states are to open a joint command headquarters in Algeria to co-ordinate efforts to counter the growing regional threat from al-Qaeda. The Joint Military Staff Committee of Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger will be based in Tamanrasset (Algeria).
    Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8633851.stm

    Now will AFRICOM have a relationship with this effort?
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Update

    An update on the situation in the Sahel, with the focal point being Mali, where the crime-terror links is reported as thriving - drugs and kidnapping - with AQIM cooperating with local tribes: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010..._r=1&ref=world
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pointer to a useful website

    For two (unread) papers on AQIM, hat tip to the website too:http://www.jihadica.com/new-aqim-reports/#comments
    davidbfpo

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