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Thread: Mali mainly, 2012 coup, drugs & more

  1. #221
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default 15 in; 150 less

    Just found a short CFR report that Nigeria is reducing its ECOWAS contribution from 600 to 450:http://blogs.cfr.org/campbell/2013/0...edge-for-mali/ Note I have yet to see a single ECOWAS soldier arrive in Mali.

    Then the Canadian SOF have a small training team in place:
    ..they are primarily there to advise Malian troops and provide training in communications, planning and first aid....providing counter-terrorism skills training and officer training. The teams number fewer than 15 soldiers.....small teams will continue to move in and out of Mali as the country requires training.
    Link via South Africa:http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.ph...mber_202260698
    davidbfpo

  2. #222
    Council Member Piranha's Avatar
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    Post Breaking: Mali government closes all schools in Bamako district and in city of Kati

    Following a day of fierce demonstrations in its capital Bamako as well as in the city of Kati, Mali's government orders schools there to be closed "until conditions of serenity and quiet have returned". Link to the communique, in French: http://www.coopfaso.net/didi/communi...bamako-et-kati

    Jeune Afrique has a report on the demonstrations
    pour reclamer des concertations sur la transition, la liberation du Nord et le depart de Dioncounda Traore.
    which can be found at http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/...nord-mali.html

    The government calls upon the population "to unite behind the army, making an effort to reconquer the regions in the north of the country".
    Piranha, a smile with a bite

  3. #223
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default

    Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, has been reporting on the Islamist takeover in the north....
    Link to NPR radio interview:http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPl...41&m=168548311 and excerpts:http://www.npr.org/2013/01/03/168483...ist-stronghold
    davidbfpo

  4. #224
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Huff & puff by Africa, NATO come quick?

    The BBC reports an emergency UN Security Council meeting yesterday, calling for:
    the "swift deployment" of an international force to Mali.
    The diplomacy appears to be a response to some reporting of both sides advancing.

    In a twist that takes the "biscuit":
    On Tuesday, African Union chairman Thomas Boni Yayi said Nato should send forces to Mali to fight the Islamists. He said the Malian conflict was a global crisis which required Nato to intervene, in the way it had done in Afghanistan to fight the Taleban and al-Qaeda. Nato troops should work alongside an African force in Mali, he said.
    The African Union has sub-contracted ECOWAS to intervene, although without any money of other physical support. Ah, what is ECOWAS doing? I have looked through previous posts:

    a) April 4th 2012 'ECOWAS is preparing a force up to 3,000'
    b) April 27th force 'ready to go'
    c) September 24th Mali agreed to host ECOWAS
    d) November 12th 'ECOWAS agreed to deploy, six months to prepare'
    e) December 2012 UNSC gives support to ECOWAS

    The BBC from New York reports:
    For logistical reasons the African force already approved by the UN was not expected to even begin its offensive before September or October...
    Pathetic. I remain convinced this ECOWAS force will not deploy in Mali and even if it did it will never take the offensive. Now the African Union is throwing away its stance on no Western intervention, calling for NATO to fight in Mali!

    Listening and reading the reporting it is almost as if Mali has been lost and AQ now has a new base - in a place far less hospitable than Afghanistan, the FATA and Somalia. As one expert has noted the "rebel north" is comparable in size to France (675k sq kilometers) or Texas (696k sq kms). Let me add somewhere we are familiar with, Afghanistan is 647k sq kms.
    davidbfpo

  5. #225
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Can Mali be an AQ safe haven?

    The Sahel has recently shown glimpses of hope as jihadist groups have overtaken northern sections of Mali in the wake of Libya’s collapse. Despite the upheaval in Mali, disparate groups appear to be contesting each other’s claims to the desert. Isolated in remote portions of the Sahara and almost entirely dependent on illicit funding streams, the Sahel offers few advantages as an enduring global safe haven for al-Qaeda and many logistical burdens.
    The emphasis is mine and the passage is a small part of Clint Watts wider review of AQ for FPRI in July 2012:http://www.fpri.org/enotes/2012/2012...s.al-qaeda.pdf
    davidbfpo

  6. #226
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    Default Can ECOWAS replicate the success of AMISOM in Mali?

    Can ECOWAS replicate the success of AMISOM in Mali?

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  7. #227
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    Default Mali mainly, 2012 coup, drugs & more

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-11-2013 at 11:15 PM. Reason: Copied here

  8. #228
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Bonjour Mali

    Sketchy reporting that the French have intervened, with a small ground presence and air power - after a request from Mali:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20991719

    One hopes the cited seven French hostages are not now executed.

    Stabilising the unclear line between the "rebels" and the Bamako government appears to be the initial objective.
    davidbfpo

  9. #229
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Bonjour Mali Part 2

    A PPT map used by the French MoD indicates what the French have done:http://www.afriscoop.net/journal/spip.php?article6762

    Close air support by helicopters and aircraft, using in-flight refuelling; with troops to Bamako using Transall medium transports and what looks like a Breguet Atlantic ASW aircraft for C2 & ELINT (as per P3 Orions etc used elsewhere).

    Note the ECOWAS nations have agreed to immediate deployment and the commander is a Nigerian - not sure what happened to the French general!
    davidbfpo

  10. #230
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default

    A press release from the French Minister of Defense’s website. Points to the French for handle—Opération Serval shows some real Gallic style. Here’s hoping for substance, as well.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  11. #231
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Trying to make sense of Mali

    A strange NYT article on the US role before the coup in Mali in mid-2012, one wonders why this had been in the public domain and challenges the value of the US DoD programme across West Africa:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/wo...nted=all&_r=1&

    This alone suffices:
    According to one senior officer, the Tuareg commanders of three of the four Malian units fighting in the north at the time defected to the insurrection “at the crucial moment,” taking fighters, weapons and scarce equipment with them. He said they were joined by about 1,600 other defectors from within the Malian Army, crippling the government’s hope of resisting the onslaught.
    A puzzling insight into the action / in-action behind the shifting front-line in Mali:http://africasacountry.com/2013/01/1...the-fairytale/

    Such as this oh not subtle change:
    Second, virtually unremarked upon with all eyes in the East, several hundred French soldiers are deployed in Bamako to protect French citizens—of whom there are reportedly some 6,000 in Mali, of whom expatriates are a minority (press: please note). In the current emergency while the French troops are there ostensibly to protect their citizens and other civilians from terrorist attack, they implicitly secure the civilian government against its own military and against mobs like those ginned up by MP-22 and other radical associations. Meanwhile, soldiers from ECOWAS nations are arriving by the hundreds, although it is not yet clear what role they will play or where they will be stationed.
    davidbfpo

  12. #232
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    Default French Operations in Mali Roundup

    French Operations in Mali Roundup

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  13. #233
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    Default A few thoughts on Mali...

    I know the discussion over the next few weeks is going to be about tactics, "counter insurgency", training, how the West can better partner with African armies etc. I think that misses the big picture.

    Think about this.

    1. Ghana lies in the same neighbourhood (it is right next door to Cote D'Ivoire), but Ghana has been remarkably stable (just had a peaceful presidential election). The economy is growing and it is moving to "mid income" status.

    It is "good governance" stupid. All the military assistance and strategy in the World will not erase the uncomfortable facts on the ground. The current state of the Malian Military is the best indicator that you are dealing with (a) a failed state and (b) extremely flaky "allies".

    2. The next question is how do we make "good governance" happen. We need to come to terms with the fact that someone played a game of dice with artificial borders and gave those artificial entities "statehood" in the sixties. The neat lines in the Saharan sand mean nothing to the Tuareg people.

    We have to rethink the Malian state and if necessary, let the maps reflect the reality on the ground. The more we postpone it the more time we waste.

    3. We Africans need to partner with the Chinese (to help us with the economic stuff) and the West (to help us with security). The problem of "terrorism" in Africa cannot be solved without a solid economic and political strategy.

    Neither the US nor France have a long-term economic strategy for that part of the World, so why not work with the Chinese to integrate the economics with the security?

    I've always had my reservations about the US AFRICOM-led policy in the part of the World. The events in Mali proved me right (the massive amounts of money spent on the trans Saharan counter-terrorism initiative have been wasted).

    It all starts from governance.

  14. #234
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm incredibly tired right now, but I remember something about Mali having had relatively decent governance until a year or two, until a coup d'tat happened.

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    I'm incredibly tired right now, but I remember something about Mali having had relatively decent governance until a year or two, until a coup d'tat happened.
    No, it didn't (if you consider the very real issues that simmered under the surface in the North, but were ignored by both the West and the Southern-led Malian government).

  16. #236
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    No, it didn't (if you consider the very real issues that simmered under the surface in the North, but were ignored by both the West and the Southern-led Malian government).
    I'm not sure that the government can be blamed. Desertification was out of their control and largely caused by the people living in the decertifying regions themselves.


    Depleted land resources were a reason for Tuareg resentment of the Malian government, in that the Tuareg felt the government did not respond appropriately to the droughts and basically forced them to leave Mali. This resentment contributed to the conflict between the Tuareg and the government in the 1990s.

    Over-grazing of the semi-arid lands bordering the Sahara in northern Mali and Niger, combined with widespread droughts in the 1970s and 1980s, led to the desertification of large parts of these areas.
    from
    The Tuareg in Mali and Niger: The Role of Desertification in Violent Conflict
    by Ann Hershkowitz
    ICE Case Studies
    Number 151, August 2005

  17. #237
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    The next question is how do we make "good governance" happen. We need to come to terms with the fact that someone played a game of dice with artificial borders and gave those artificial entities "statehood" in the sixties. The neat lines in the Saharan sand mean nothing to the Tuareg people.
    I don't know that anyone has the capacity to "make good governance happen". Good governance is the product of an evolutionary process; it doesn't just "happen". That process is often long and on the ugly side.

    I completely agree that artificial borders have created many problems, in Africa and elsewhere, but I'm not convinced that it will help to have any outside entity, particularly a western one, trying to redraw the lines in the sand to conform to perceived reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    We have to rethink the Malian state and if necessary, let the maps reflect the reality on the ground. The more we postpone it the more time we waste.
    Who would be the "we" in that statement?
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Who would be the "we" in that statement?
    "We" refers to the International Community (especially ECOWAS). Mali has to renegotiate its internal political architecture to ensure sustainable peace.

    You know about South Sudan? South Sudan is the future of many African states - you can take that to the bank.

    It is 50 years after independence and we now have a fair idea of which African states are workable and which African states are unworkable. Over the next few decades, this will be even clearer.

    About "good governance" - it isn't a game of dice.

  19. #239
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    "We" refers to the International Community (especially ECOWAS).
    I'm not sure there is such a thing as an "international community" in any reliably coherent sense. Nations near and far may cooperate to the extent that they see common interests, but they are pursuing their own interests, not those of any other nation or any hypothetical community.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    Mali has to renegotiate its internal political architecture to ensure sustainable peace.
    Possibly so, but who would negotiate, and with whom?

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    You know about South Sudan? South Sudan is the future of many African states - you can take that to the bank.
    I don't doubt it. What I doubt is the ability of any outside party to determine where and how this should happen, and the wisdom of efforts by outside parties to make this happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    It is 50 years after independence and we now have a fair idea of which African states are workable and which African states are unworkable. Over the next few decades, this will be even clearer.
    Again, describing a country as "unworkable" is easy enough, and the term may well be accurate... but any external effort to propose or impose a solution is likely to create a good deal of trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    About "good governance" - it isn't a game of dice.
    No, it's not a game at all. For one thing, nobody seems to know the rules. We may know bad governance when we see it, but I'm not sure any of us - or any hypothetical "we" - are in a position to determine what "good governance" means for someone else, or how they should go about achieving it.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Again, describing a country as "unworkable" is easy enough, and the term may well be accurate... but any external effort to propose or impose a solution is likely to create a good deal of trouble.
    South Sudan is an externally imposed solution. It is tricky, but inevitable. Expect more in future.

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