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Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:40 PM

U.S. Sees Hazy Threat From Mali Militants

Source: NYT

As Islamic militants methodically carved out a base in the desert of northern Mali over the past year, officials in Washington, Paris and African capitals struggling with military plans to drive the Islamists out of the country agreed on one principle: African troops, not European or American soldiers, would fight the battle of Mali.

But the surprise French assault last Friday to blunt the Islamists’ advance upended those plans and set off a cascading series of events, culminating in a raid on Wednesday by militants on a foreign-run gas field in Algeria. That attack threatens to widen the violence in an impoverished region and drag Western governments deeper into combating an incipient insurgency.

And yet the rush of events has masked the fact that officials in Washington still have only an impressionistic understanding of the militant groups that have established a safe haven in Mali, and they are deeply divided about whether some of these groups even pose a threat to the United States.

Moreover, the hostage situation in Algeria has only heightened concerns that a Western military intervention could transform militant groups that once had only a regional focus into avowed enemies of the United States — in other words, that the backlash might end up being worse than the original threat.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/world/africa/us-sees-hazy-threat-from-mali-militants.html?pagewanted=all

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Reply U.S. Sees Hazy Threat From Mali Militants (Original post)
alp227 Jan 2013 OP
msongs Jan 2013 #1
TwilightGardener Jan 2013 #2
daleo Jan 2013 #4
Alamuti Lotus Jan 2013 #5
another_liberal Jan 2013 #3

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:48 PM

1. let's murder more women and kids using drones and the problems will go away...right? nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 11:08 PM

2. Wonder what role uranium plays in this? Heard it was considered to

be recoverable in Mali, and the French are mining it in some nearby country. No mention of that in the article.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 11:53 PM

4. French get their uranium from Niger

Which is next door to Mali. So you can bet that's a factor.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:22 AM

5. Mali is also host to an enormous amount of gold mining

 

The Government of Mali holds a minority interest (usually <20%) in the mining activity (much of which is siphoned off to for military corruption), the rest are largely owned and managed by French and English companies (with off-shore headquarters to escape proper taxation, of course), with some Canadian interest as well. See:

Gold Mining in Mali
Mali is Africa's third largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. Mali produced 53,7 t of gold in 2009.

http://www.mbendi.com/indy/ming/gold/af/ml/p0005.htm

and for more on gold and other mining interests, see:

The war on Mali: What you should know
Uranium: encouraging signs and exploration in full swing. Exploration is currently being carried out by several companies with clear indications of deposits of uranium in Mali. Uranium potential is located in the Falea area which covers 150 km˛ of the Falea- North Guinea basin, a Neoproterozoic sedimentary basin marked by significant radiometric anomalies. Uranium potential in Falea is thought to be 5000 tonnes. The Kidal Project, in the north eastern part of Mali, with an area of 19,930 km2, the project covers a large crystalline geological province known as L’Adrar Des Iforas. Uranium potential in the Samit deposit, Gao region alone is thought to be 200 tonnes.

http://news-beacon-ireland.info/?p=10061

The author examines precious metal and other mineral resource that the vultures presently circling would like to pillage.

--------

Uranium a minefield for Malians
Faleans, villagers in the south west region of Mali, have organised and united against the uranium mining, but their activism appears futile.

Faleans know that their community will experience only long-term agony and disruption, with the wealth derived from uranium going into the pockets of the foreign investors and their local compradors.

Faleans have informed themselves of the dangers of uranium and, pressed by residents, all 21 mayors have come out in opposition to future mining. Their community organisation has established a local radio station and has received Geiger counters for the measurement of radiation with support from European donor organisations such as the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the City of Geneva. But is unity enough to get rid of uranium prospectors? It seems not and Mali may go the way of other countries in Africa that have allowed the exploitation of this deadly resource.

http://mg.co.za/article/2012-03-30-uranium-a-minefield-for-malians/

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 11:15 PM

3. Blame our great and glorious "War on Terror."

Our over-the-top "War on Terror" has elevated these types of fundamentalist militants to an international prominence they would never have attained otherwise. Instead of them being seen for the thugs and bandits they largely are, our near constant attacks and killings have made them martyrs and heroes in the eyes of many fellow Muslims. We have literally done their recruiting for them.

Now what is to be done? Can we let them take control of Mali, maybe all of West Africa? Can we stop them even if we really want to? We own most of the blame for the rise of these movements in the Muslim World, but are we really the right people to combat them? I do doubt it.

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