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Old 10 Nov 2012
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The plans for the show-down in northern Mali are hotting up with an expansion of troops from 3200 to 5500 (see Plans for bigger military force in Mali | News24).

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas)
and representatives from South Africa, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya, Algeria
are planning the military campaign in N Mali. To be frank, I couldn't imagine an approach more disposed to maximising bloodshed and confusion than this. Trying to recapture half of a large country by committee strikes me as properly misguided. How many of the 5500 will know what they are doing? How will the comms operate? How many of these guys have worked alongside each other before? How many of them will go home in a box?
Unhappy chapter this for Mali. I would stay well away right now.

Last edited by Richard Washington; 10 Nov 2012 at 16:47.
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Old 10 Nov 2012
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I was at the annual FCO Sahel security meeting the other day.
Short version: it will get worse before it gets better.

One interesting observation was made: now they run the region the jihadists move freely in the towns of Gao, Kidal and Tim among what civilian population remains. This makes it much harder to fight them (if that is the plan) - more like Iraq than Rommel v Monty.

A year ago I imagine AQIM etc were mostly based out in desert camps which may have been easier to target without wrecking the place and other collateral damage.


Last edited by Chris Scott; 10 Nov 2012 at 16:53.
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Old 10 Nov 2012
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Just back from Mali. Got as far as Mopti. No Tuareg left there. They are afraid for genocide when Ecowas will intervene. 400.000 refugees. That's more than Syria I think. Or not ? I wonder if there will really be an intervention.
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Old 10 Nov 2012
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And how is the mood now in Mopti and surroudings?
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Old 10 Nov 2012
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Roro: Most blacks I spoke are fed up with the Tuareg. 'They are always causing problems." They want foreign intervention and kick them out of most towns in the north, confident that Ecowas will side with the blacks in Mali against the white Tuaregs. "They can live in Kidal but not in Gao and Timbuktu.' So the Tuareg have reason to be afraid. That's why so many fled abroad. But for the moment Mopti is quiet. Many paramilitary groups, that are preparing to help Ecowas. But not a lot of army moving around, and not many checkpoints.
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Old 11 Nov 2012
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Originally Posted by Richard Washington View Post
Unhappy chapter this for Mali. I would stay well away right now.
unless you are a brave guy like gvdaa
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Old 21 Nov 2012
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In Bamako they are calling touaregs 'cafards'. Cockroaches. Brings memories of Rwanda.

Romano Prodi, who is now UN special envoy to Sahel, says there can't be any military intervention before September, 2013.
It will take time, if they aim to rebuild the malian army for the mission.
There will be a long period of insecurity then, and it may affect neighbouring countries in a very negative way.
Nord-Mali : une intervention pas possible avant septembre 2013, selon Romano Prodi | Jeuneafrique

Edit: now he said that something could happen in six months, but a full scale intervention will take a year.

Last edited by priffe; 23 Nov 2012 at 06:37.
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Old 23 Nov 2012
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As Ansar Dine finally said they would not support terrorists, MNLA has fought MUJAO in Menaka and Ansongo. Ansar Dine stays passive.
Touareg rebels vow terror crackdown (Magharebia.com)
"Last week's clashes between terrorist groups and secular Touareg rebels in northern Mali ...were only the start of a long war against smuggling, terrorists and organised crime gangs in Azawad, Ibrahim Ag Assaleh, a leading MNLA figure and member of the group's political bureau, told Magharebia Wednesday evening.
Analysts have said the new MNLA action in northern Mali reflects a desire by the group to play a role in combating terrorism in the region."

It is worrysome that malian forces are supposed to lead the coming intervention when (like always) they see touaregs as the main enemy.
There is even vocal support in Bamako for MUJAO vs. touareg rebels. And reports of Malian army collaborating with AQIM/MUJAO.

Last edited by priffe; 23 Nov 2012 at 08:28.
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