Subject: Sub-Saharan Africa
I realize that not many of my readers will give two shakes in Hell about Mali……but I do…..I was in the region back in the days that I worked for our government (yes, I was one of those govt employees that all are bitching about)……
About a month ago….the government and the rebels decided to kick some ass….the rebels were better at it than the government….as a matter of fact the government forces were out manned and out gunned……and with the collapse of the government of Toure all Hell has broken lose……the Taureg in the north have wanted their independence and their land as a separate country….looks like some of it is about to happen…….
The Tuareg separatists and Ansar Dine appear on the surface to have formed a mere alliance of convenience. The Tuareg leaders say they want to create a separate Tuareg republic, Azawad, and oppose strict sharia law. On the other hand, Ansar Dine originally did not want to break up Mali, but rather wanted to impose extreme sharia law on the whole country. But in May they came to an agreement to rule northeastern Mali together, and declared the national independence of Azawad.
But all is not well in the now divided country…….
Watching the two largest rebel groups in Northern Mali, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) and Ansar ud-Dine, pirouette around each other as they try to create a united front is a bit like watching the mating ritual of an rare species of bird. Western journalists and analysts, who know the habits and motivations of the protagonists to varying degrees, are forced to gaze from afar – but even the best-informed are at a complete loss to accurately predict what will happen next.
The stakes couldn’t be higher – both for Mali and West Africa as a whole. If the Islamists in Ansar ud-Dine and their quietly Machiavellian leader Iyad Ag Ghali fail to come to terms with the nationalist and secular NMLA, then the prospect is either a protracted civil war in the north or a rapid defeat of the NMLA by the better-equipped and better-funded Ansar ud-Dine and their allies in al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Personally, I do not see this as a lasting relationship….the AUD is extreme Islamists and the NMLA is secular….not a good mix for a friendly relationship or a country….a new country at that. And then there is the fact that AQ is in bed with the AUD….another strike against the relationship….
This may be of no interests to Americans now….but it could be the beginning of another armed conflict that we have to wade into….