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Thread: Mali mainly, 2012 coup, drugs & more

  1. #141
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Ecowas sends troops to Mali

    The BBC News headline and the situation is:
    At least 3,000 regional soldiers are ready to go to Mali to support the transitional government's fight against rebels which control the north. The BBC's John James at the meeting in Abidjan says no timescale was set for the deployment to Mali, because the leaders were waiting for the Malian government to draw up details of their collaboration. It is still unclear which regional countries will contribute to the Ecowas force, and even once ready, it will need financial and logistical outside help before it can be deployed.
    Ok, change the headline to ECOWAS thinks about sending troops to Mali. No change two weeks later, from my previous comment.
    davidbfpo

  2. #142
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    But where will these troops come from? I don't see them coming from Nigeria.

  3. #143
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Whose ECOWAS troops intervene?

    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    But where will these troops come from? I don't see them coming from Nigeria.
    Looking at who is an ECOWAS member and Nigeria abstaining I cannot see anyone providing troops. How many of the members have a deployable military now and it suits their national interest to intervene on the ground?

    Link to ECOWAS membership:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economi...African_States

    I have ignored "interested parties" offering far more than logistic help, yes hiring ECOWAS troops.

    One wonders if any Africans involved in this matter have pondered whether the odium piled upon Executive Outcomes was a mistake.
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  4. #144
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Counter-coup attempt under way in Mali
    Several people reported killed in fight between coup troops and those loyal to ousted president at national broadcaster.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa...132449292.html
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
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  5. #145
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Centuries of tradition and respect up in smoke

    I suppose it was only a matter of time, as the destruction of the Bamiyan sculptures showed in Afghanistan, but in Mali things move faster.

    Islamist fighters said to be linked to al-Qaeda have destroyed the tomb of a local Muslim saint in the Malian town of Timbuktu, officials and locals say.
    The gunmen attacked the shrine and set it on fire, saying it was contrary to Islam, according to the official.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17973545

    Nothing like "winning friends" or 'hearts & minds'.
    davidbfpo

  6. #146
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Things not to the fore recently

    Some background which I was not aware of:
    In 1991, more than two decades prior to similar pro-democracy uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Malians engaged in a massive nonviolent resistance campaign that brought down the dictatorship of Mousa Traor. A broad mobilization of trade unionists, peasants, students, teachers, and others .... created a mass movement throughout the country. Despite the absence of Facebook or the Internet, virtually no international media coverage, and the massacre of hundreds of peaceful protesters, this popular civil insurrection succeeded not only in ousting a repressive and corrupt regime, but ushered in more than two decades of democratic rule.

    Despite corruption, poverty, and a weak infrastructure, Mali was widely considered to be the most stable and democratic country in West Africa.
    I'd not seen this in the coverage, my emphasis:
    Charging that the civilian government was not being tough enough against the rebels, US-trained Army Captain Amadou Sanogo and other officers staged a coup on March 22 and called for US intervention along the lines of Afghanistan and the war on terror. Sanogos training in the United States is just one small part of a decade of US training of armies in the Sahel, increasing the militarization of this impoverished region and the influence of armed forces relative to civilian leaders.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/stephen...r-own-making-0
    davidbfpo

  7. #147
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    Africa hasn't seen a US commerce secretary in 12 years. Meanwhile, US Army generals visit every month.

    Warped priorities.

  8. #148
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default US on duty deaths in a crash in Mali

    Nor have events in Mali been without loss for the USA, edited down and dated 20th April 2012 (thanks to a SWC reader):
    Three American military personnel and three civilians died early Friday in a single-car crash in Mali's capital, U.S. officials said... one of the three Americans was from U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, and the two others were assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command. The military personnel were in Mali as part of a U.S. special operations training mission that was suspended after last month's coup overthrew the country's democratically elected president.
    Link:http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/04...in-mali-crash/
    davidbfpo

  9. #149
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    Default Has the World Forgotten Mali?

    Seems like the World has forgotten Mali and is resigned to two states - Mali in the South and "Azawad" in the North.

    The longer Azawad remains a de-facto state, the more difficult it would be to reverse the situation on the ground.

    In any case, it is a sign of things to come.

  10. #150
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    Seems like the World has forgotten Mali and is resigned to two states - Mali in the South and "Azawad" in the North.

    The longer Azawad remains a de-facto state, the more difficult it would be to reverse the situation on the ground.

    In any case, it is a sign of things to come.
    One of my university classmates who is affiliated with the Dogon Language Project returned to Africa last week to resume fieldwork. The project has moved their base of operations from Mali to Burkina Faso due to the political situation and I am not sure if they are plan to do some work north of the border. In any case, after she has been there long enough to get caught up on the scuttlebutt I will make inquiries and report back.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  11. #151
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Has the World Forgotten Mali?

    This was a question asked by KingJaja a few days ago.

    Given the state of flux inside Mali, one could reverse the question. Has Mali forgotten the World?

    I am uncertain that there are reporters in situ in Bamako and certain that no-one is in the rebellious north. Maybe specialists are producing reports and these simply don't reach the BBC for example.

    Today there is this report, note without a byline:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-collapse.html

    One hopes that in Mali there are wise minds applied to encouraging the two groups to diverge; one thing is for certain the diplomatic noises of ECOWAS will only be heard by ECOWAS.

    A more strategic 'ungoverned spaces' article, hat tip to Carl Prine, by an ex-CIA operator: http://www.andmagazine.com/content/phoenix/12253.html

    I am not convinced about his title and this sentence:
    Northern Mali, called Azawad by the locals, may be the newest Afghanistan.
    davidbfpo

  12. #152
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Updates from the desert

    First there were reports of conflict between Tuareg MNLA rebels and the Ansar Dine Islamist group (aligned to AQIM), two weeks ago and my previous post:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18104236

    Now the BBC reports they are shooting at each other, not in Timbucktu, but further east:
    Two rebel groups that seized northern Mali two months ago have clashed following protests in the town of Kidal...
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18377168

    Worth reading the blog piece by a FT journalist who has been on the ground:http://blogs.ft.com/the-world/2012/0...-rice-on-mali/

    Almost sounds like 'divide and rule' is alive and well. Hopefully the locals can resolve this themselves, with the odd nudge from outside - preferably by those who know the ground, yes 'Uncle Sam' that might not be you.
    davidbfpo

  13. #153
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Is Mali the ‘next Afghanistan’?

    An article by Andrew Lebovich on Al-Wasat blog as he explains, with plenty of links:
    This post is my attempt to sort through some of the current popular attitudes about the security situation in northern Mali, the very real risks to regional and international security that may be looming in the north, and the equally real constraints on militant groups attempting to impose shari’ah in northern Mali or project force beyond Mali’s already porous (or nonexistent) borders.
    Link:http://thewasat.wordpress.com/2012/0...t-afghanistan/
    davidbfpo

  14. #154
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Possible split is now a real and violent split

    A BBC report:
    Islamist forces in northern Mali have seized the town of Gao after clashes with Tuareg-led rebels. At least 20 people have been killed and the political leader of the Tuareg-led movement has been wounded.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18610618
    davidbfpo

  15. #155
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Mali: the next terrorist sanctuary?

    A London-based RUSI analyst commentary which starts with:
    In the aftermath of the Mali coup, northern secessionists have declared an independent Islamic state. With verifiable links to Al-Qa'ida, there is a real risk that 'Azawad', as it is known, will become the next wellspring of instability and terrorism in Africa.
    She ends with:
    Yet, the hope is that, on this occasion, a strategy of action will be agreed swiftly enough to prevent Mali from becoming the next terrorist sanctuary.
    Link:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4FCF45F14B819/

    I remain unconvinced that such a desolate, thinly populated area with very few external links requires an external - let alone a US - response.
    davidbfpo

  16. #156
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Dithering as Mali crumbles?

    I am sure the news from Timbucktu has intruded with a reminder that the distant past can affect today, as reported by the BBC for example:
    The town's ancient Islamic shrines - the mausoleums of local Sufi saints - are being methodically torn down, and ploughed back into the Saharan sands, by militant outsiders who believe, scrupulously, that intolerance is a virtue.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18723035

    Plus the diplomatic froth over intervention:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18728950

    Paul Rogers has a review piece, with good points on keeping out being made:http://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-ro...d-intervention He notes:
    Nigeria, Niger and Senegal - are reported to be prepared to furnish a large part of a planned 3,270-strong force.
    davidbfpo

  17. #157
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Intervening in Mali: West African Nations Plan Offensive against Islamists and Tuareg Rebels
    Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 13
    July 5, 2012 08:00 AM Age: 2 days
    By: Andrew McGregor

    http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_...af0a9045e8997a

    As Tuareg rebels battle radical Islamists with heavy weapons for control of the northern Mali city of Gao, Mali and the other 15 nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are planning a military offensive designed to drive both groups out of northern Mali in an effort to re-impose order in the region and prevent the six-month old conflict from destabilizing the entire region. So far, however, operational planning has not been detailed enough to gain the approval of the UN Security Council for authorization of a Chapter Seven military intervention, leaving ECOWAS and the African Union with the option of delaying the campaign or proceeding without UN approval.
    Good assessment of the Malian Army, in particular

    Mali’s military will be handicapped in their re-conquest of the north by the absence of its elite unit, the “Red Beret” parachute commando regiment of some 600 men under the command of Colonel Abidine Guindo. The regiment, which doubled as the presidential guard, was officially disbanded by the putschists after it remained loyal to ex-President Amadou Toumani Touré and succeeded in spiriting Touré out of the country before he could be arrested. A failed counter-coup led by the “Red Berets” on April 30 complicated matters further, with members of the regiment now being put on trial for opposing the new government.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-08-2012 at 06:56 AM. Reason: Fix link
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  18. #158
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default A word to the wise:

    sex with African prostitutes can result in drastically diminished combat effectiveness.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  19. #159
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Africanistan? Not Exactly

    Yes another FP article on intervention in Mali, the authors is:
    Gregory Mann is a professor of history at Columbia University, specializing in the history of francophone Africa, and of Mali in particular.
    Article:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...ctly?page=full

    Hard work is required and the final paragraph sums it all up:
    So what is to be done? Ultimately, Malians themselves will have to take the lead in resolving a crisis that has endangered their neighbors. Outside actors can only help all sides seek an honorable way to make the Malian north safe again, partly by working to get Bamako to accept the assistance of its neighbors. At the moment, foreign military intervention, whether it comes from ECOWAS or elsewhere, will be viewed as an invasion in both the south and the north. That has to change, which means that politics has to come first. A political solution will be harder to achieve than a military one, but you get what you pay for.
    davidbfpo

  20. #160
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Algerians are coming!

    Nothing like speculation, citing Algerian sources:
    A rapid intervention unit composed of French, British, Italian and Spanish special forces has been formed to target al-Qaeda in the Sahel countries. Algeria has also formed special units designed to track down and target Al-Qaeda as well as the Tawhid and Jihad group.
    Link:http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/poli...medium=twitter

    I have always considered Algeria the key nation regarding the use of coercion in the Sahel, including Mali.

    The other four nations have interests, capability and IMHO insufficient political will to deploy - kidnapping / hostage rescue excepted.
    davidbfpo

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