Mali has been in turmoil since March. Did you know? Thought not.
Surprise surprise, the news has hardly even mentioned it.
We were led to believe that the war in Libya was self-contained. That the consequences of such intense and sustained fighting only affected those people who resided inside its international borders. That this war was being waged for the great ideals of democracy. And that it would be a stepping stone in bringing stability to the region.
It has been none of the above.
There has been rebellion in Northern Mali and Tuareg rebels have declared it an independent state, although no one in the international community has recognized it. As a result, there is a large Islamist presence there and terrorist training camps, which have strong al-Quaeda links, whilst drug trafficking across the border continues unchecked.
Hundreds of Malian fighters, who had fought to defend Muammar Gaddaffi, fled back into Mali when Gaddaffi was killed. Feeling humiliated and abandoned by their government, as they had insufficient military resources and food during the war, many joined the Northern separatist rebel group, the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA). Armed and aggrieved, they combined to make the MNLA the most powerful Northern separatist group ever known in Mali. And it is proving to be a real and immediate threat to national and regional stability.
Northern Mali is situated in the Sahel and Maghreb region, an area that is vital to the stability of the region but is itself perennially unstable, especially since the war in Libya. Therefore, any military action in the region to challenge the rebels is difficult and extremely dangerous.
Allowing this separatist movement to continue could have cataclysmic consequences for Africa in general though as it may serve as inspiration to the separatist agitations and agendas of groups in various African countries.
Just doin’ ma duty,
Old Bushel Britches x