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Old 04-27-2012   #141
KingJaja
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But where will these troops come from? I don't see them coming from Nigeria.
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Old 04-27-2012   #142
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Default Whose ECOWAS troops intervene?

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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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Old 05-01-2012   #143
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Counter-coup attempt under way in Mali
Quote:
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
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Old 05-06-2012   #144
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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.

Quote:
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'.
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Old 05-08-2012   #145
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Default Things not to the fore recently

Some background which I was not aware of:
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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:
Quote:
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
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Old 05-08-2012   #146
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Africa hasn't seen a US commerce secretary in 12 years. Meanwhile, US Army generals visit every month.

Warped priorities.
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Old 05-08-2012   #147
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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):
Quote:
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/
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Old 05-28-2012   #148
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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.
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Old 05-28-2012   #149
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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.
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Old 05-30-2012   #150
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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:
Quote:
Northern Mali, called Azawad by the locals, may be the newest Afghanistan.
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Old 06-09-2012   #151
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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:
Quote:
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.
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Old 06-11-2012   #152
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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:
Quote:
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/
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Old 06-28-2012   #153
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Default Possible split is now a real and violent split

A BBC report:
Quote:
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
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Old 06-29-2012   #154
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Default Mali: the next terrorist sanctuary?

A London-based RUSI analyst commentary which starts with:
Quote:
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:
Quote:
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.
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Old 07-06-2012   #155
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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:
Quote:
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:
Quote:
Nigeria, Niger and Senegal - are reported to be prepared to furnish a large part of a planned 3,270-strong force.
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Old 07-07-2012   #156
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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

Quote:
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

Quote:
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.
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-08-2012 at 06:56 AM. Reason: Fix link
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Old 07-18-2012   #157
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Default A word to the wise:

sex with African prostitutes can result in drastically diminished combat effectiveness.
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Old 07-25-2012   #158
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Default Africanistan? Not Exactly

Yes another FP article on intervention in Mali, the authors is:
Quote:
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:
Quote:
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.
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Old 08-20-2012   #159
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Default The Algerians are coming!

Nothing like speculation, citing Algerian sources:
Quote:
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.
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Old 08-23-2012   #160
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Default Trying to Understand MUJWA

From Andrew Lebovich on al-Wasat and the opening paragraphs:
Quote:
Since it first burst onto the scene in December 2011, the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (generally MUJWA in English, or MUJAO in French) has been a difficult group to pin down. The group, originally characterized as a "dissident" faction of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), its actions have raised a number of possible contradictions and open questions. Recently, some local and international actors have taken in particular to questioning MUJWA's actions, and speculating that MUJWA, believed to be heavily funded by the cocaine and now the kidnapping business, may in essence be using jihadist activities as a sort of front for its criminal behavior.

This post is an attempt to explore and analyze some of the possible explanations for MUJWA's behavior, with a focus on its activities, composition, and role in the city of Gao. Ultimately, I will question some of the assumptions local and international observers have made about MUJWA's motivations, in particular attempts to frame MUJWA as a "criminal" rather than a "terrorist" or "insurgent" organization, when available evidence paints a far more complicated picture of overlapping motivations and multiple sub-groupings within the same organization.
On the drugs trade aspect:
Quote:
While much ink has been spilled about the spread of the drug trade in the Sahel, precious little direct evidence has been publicly provided with regards to the actual size and profitability of this trade. This is due largely to the incredible difficulty of researching the trade, efforts by traders to launder or otherwise hide money behind businesses in multiple regional countries, though I suspect part of it is also lazy writing and analysis.
Loads of links within and link:http://thewasat.wordpress.com/2012/0...erstand-mujwa/
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