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Mali - War ?

By: Ayo Johnson

This is a simple mission to push back rebels; win
back lost ground and ultimately taking back territory.


UN approval
requires AU and ECOWAS to come up with a swift plan to claw back the
occupied territories. Foreign troops on the ground in Mali could spell
resistance. Air support from France and UK will make a difference in the
short term. There is a concern that like in Iraq and Afganistan; Al-Qaida in
the Islamic Maghreb could make Mali a strategic hob to wage war and prolong
conflict in that region. 


As international
public opinion shifts with changing situation on the ground; a long war will
not be in the interest of the UN. Competing powers at the Security Council with
major powers like China and Rushia on opposing side of the western powers.
Continued support for a strong and robust military mandate may subside. 


Mali’s Military
had been unwilling and at time unable to take the fight to militants and win
back lost territory. Without a process map to democratic elections and looming
possibility of a further coup; Mali’s current transitional civilian government
does not trust it military wholeheartedly. Especially after the military
launched a coup in march of this year plunged the country to chaos and
ultimately the capitalization of land  by
Tuareg rebels with the support from Alqaida.


Like Tuareg
rebels in Mali; Boko Haram sect in Nigeria and Alshabab militia in Somalia all
pose a significant challenge for security, military and intelligence forces.
Crushing these competing elements and challenging their ideology will be
difficult. Tuareg rebels are focused on building an Islamic state with Sharia
law at the core of that ideology. Such measures involve the curtailing of
Western values, destruction of sacred shrines, limiting rights for women and
observation of strict social norms. Those that don’t comply are usually met
with hash punishments.


Cost of an
offensive Urban war against Tuareg rebels and Al-Qaida could be substantial and
ECOWAS and the WEST could be sucked into a long war; costing 100’s of millions
of dollars requiring a constant flow of military equipment and personnel.  The human cost could be high fighting urban
warfare in cities against an enemy that does not wear a uniform that can easily
blend into the civilian population. There will be many casualties and civilian
deaths caught up in the cross fire.


Displacement of
Mali citizens is a reality that the world will have to contend with. Mali’s
neighbouring countries will shoulder the immediate burden as refugees including
women and children stream across the border. Most countries in Africa are poor
and with crumbling infrastructure. Already struggling to address the needs of
the host population many services health care, schools, housing, electricity
and waters will be stretched to breaking point if there is an exodus of refugee


A quick and
decisive military victory is what is required; regressing of Sharia law and
crushing Islamic militants may prove to be difficult mission. Fighting an
ideology, changing a mind set has its challenges and may not be addressed in
the short term. Ultimately it is the Malian people who can determine their
future and rid the country of undesirable elements.  Tuareg 
rebels and Al-Qaida elements are currently a present danger to Mali, a threat
to regional stability and a security concern for the civilized word.


Product Id: 100132
Posted By: Viewpointafrica Monitoring Team
Country: Mali
Category: Politics
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