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article imageOp-Ed: Mali heading for war with international backing

By Raluca Besliu     Oct 26, 2012 in Politics
Mali is likely to enter war soon, given the impending creation of an international military intervention plan aiming to assist the Malian government re-conquer the north, taken over by the African wing of Al-Qaeda (AQIM) and other Islamist groups.
According to French Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the international intervention would also seek to strengthen the central government and prevent Mali from becoming a terrorist breeding ground that could threaten the security of both the African continent and Europe.
With several French citizens taken as hostages by the Islamist groups, France is one of the main countries that have been pushing the United Nations (UN) to take action. France has even reinitiated its cooperation with Mali.It had ceased its relations with the African country following the coup in March through which a military junta overthrew the elected government as a result of its poor handling of the ethnic Tuareg rebellion in Mali northern. In fact, the Islamist groups hijacked the Tuareg’s uprising and have since been occupying the northern region and committing widespread human rights abuses and cultural crimes.
The prolonged crisis has led around one third of the population in the north flee the country and has worsened the already severe and cruel hunger in the Sahel.
On October 12, the U.N. Security Council passed a French-drafted resolution to re-launch efforts to end the crisis and called for the creation of an intervention plan within 45 days on Mali’s West African neighbors and the African Union. The resolution also calls on the European Union (EU) to provide training and assist the Malian to retake its territory. The almost certain outcome is an African army paid and supported by Western governments.
Another important international power, the United States (U.S.) has also announced that regaining control over the northern region in Mali has become inevitable. There are speculations that link the attack which killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi, Libya, to AQIM, but evidence confirming this has yet to be produced. Apart from France and the U.S., Germany has also emphasized that it could assist training missions preparing West African forces to prepare for intervention.
On October 20, representatives of the UN, EU and African Union gathered in Mali’s capital to set the stages of the international military enterprise. The meeting also confirmed Mali’s post-coup re-acceptance and recognition in the international community.
In response to the increasing discussions of international military intervention, AQIM has responded by repeatedly threatening to kill its six French hostages, if France does not cease to promote and support war in Mali.
The Islamists further mocked the international initiative by emphasizing that France was the main country funding the jihadis in the Sahara region through the ransoms paid and threaten to try to kidnapping current French President Hollande.
Do you believe that a military intervention conducted by the African states and funded by Western ones is the proper solution to end the Islamist security threat or can there be a more peaceful approach to resolving this problem?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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