Thu Jan 17, 2013, 08:45 PM
dipsydoodle (42,239 posts)
Mali: how did it come to this?
Four elements explain the current violence in the Sahel, a poor relation among the various theatres of extremism over the last decade. The first is the radical transformation of the region. Weaponry looted from Libya after Colonel Gaddafi's fall, the collapse of central government in Mali and the rebellion by local Tuareg tribesmen who became brief allies of the extremists, combined to turn a harsh environment that restricted the capabilities of the militants into one that favoured them. Suddenly there were arms, anarchy and auxiliaries – everything a jihadi group needs.
The southern, Mali-based part of the fractured al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was formed out of the remnants of older Algerian groups in January 2007.
It has gone from being "a first-rate criminal organisation and a second- or third-rate terrorist organisation" in the words of Peter Pham, an expert at the Washington-based Atlantic Council thinktank, who frequently advises the US and other governments on Africa, to a force that is now, with its allies, taking on the French army.
A second factor was the rivalry between AQIM factions.
6 replies, 1068 views
Mali: how did it come to this? (Original post)
|Charles Goya||Jan 2013||#1|
|On the Road||Jan 2013||#3|
|kenny blankenship||Jan 2013||#4|
Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)
Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:25 PM
Politicub (7,109 posts)
2. Anyone have a link to a good explanation of France's interest in Mali?
I've found a couple of things, but know there's a better source out there.
Response to Politicub (Reply #2)
Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:39 AM
On the Road (20,745 posts)
3. France is in Mali
for the same reason the US would be in Panama or Haiti in a political emergency. It's part of the sphere of influence. Mali used to be part of French Africa. As a result, they speak the same language and share a certain common history. There are French expatriates in Mali, and there are Malians in France. As long as they act responsibly, they're an infinitely better alternative than Al Qaida in the Maghreb.
Response to Politicub (Reply #2)
Fri Jan 18, 2013, 03:30 AM
kenny blankenship (15,689 posts)
4. In a word: Uranium. France generates 75% of its electricity from atomic.
France generates so much electricity so cheaply from its atomic generation it actually sells electricity to Italy, among other countries, for a profit. However, France lost privileged access to Niger's uranium mines, to which it had an exclusive rights up until about 3 years ago. Uranium is a key energy resource for France and its price is now being squeezed. Mali is a former French colony next door to Niger, and it has uranium resources too. Like Niger, Mali's uranium (and underexploited oil resources) are located in the northern part of the country where the Tuareg people are in revolt.
The links embedded in the story above, particularly the one by Antoine Roger Lokongo explain in some greater detail how French colonialism in western Africa has never really ended. Incredibly, France under the Pacte Coloniale administers the bank reserves of the 14 African states which it freed in 1960. There seems to be zero accounting of how the French treasury has been managing these deposits. Meanwhile France plays a domineering role in the region, backing its favorite politicians, currying influence and obliging the governments of its former colonies with military tutelage and assistance, and generally keeping its own corporate interests in positions of advantage.
The influence of the French is so strong that when Mali's President was overthrown in a coup last Spring, the French were involved in designating a new 3 man interim government.