Thursday, October 18, 2012

NO to military intervention in Mali

I have expressed my moral opposition to the entity currently controlling northern Mali. However, I do not think that the current plans for military intervention are either well thought out or will make the situation better. Intervention may well make things worse not only in Mali, but in neighboring states.  According to the WSJ the US may provide air support to the mission. Given that the problem in Mali is in part a result of the US air war against Libya I don't think this is such a good idea. Just as the ground troops in Libya were provided by locals the war on the ground in Mali will be fought by African soldiers. In addition to the Malian military which is poorly prepared for such a war the current plan calls for 3,300 ECOWAS soldiers, primarily from Nigeria to remove the Islamists from power in the north. The territory to be reconquered on behalf of Bamako is the size of France and mostly desert. How 3,300 men can effectively suppress a guerrilla insurgency in such an area and impose the rule of a rather shaky government has not been adequately explained.  As The Guardian points out the real problem in Mali is that the current government in Bamako is not competent to effectively rule the country. This is the same problem the US currently has in Afghanistan and earlier had in South Vietnam. The national government which we wish to impose on the entire country lacks the ability and support required to effectively rule its own territory. Neither the civilians in the transitional government of Mali or its military have any real political legitimacy and until they do they will not be able to assert effective rule over all of their territory.

Source: The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian Africa Network

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