Mali and Central Africa Republic update (and Iraq) – 6/17

Iraq seems to have blown up in the last week or so. Is it really necessary to say I don’t have a clue what is happening? To see what give me a vague, fuzzy hint of something that looks like a clue, check out…

6/16 – American Interest – The Middle East and Beyond – Iraq: What a Way To Go – Adam Garfinkel provides deep background on how Iraq came into being and helps sort out the mess that is happening now.

In a sentence, the straight lines that make up what we until this month we called the country of Iraq are gone. The boundaries drawn in the 1910s are toast. In its place will be three (?) autonomous nation-states centered around the historical homelands of the Kurds, Shi-as, and Sunnis. The old boundaries are no more and will not be again.

The area is revitalizing itself into homogenous polities. (Check out the article). A few of the revitalization movements are the origination of current Saudi polity back the in the 1700s, Taliban version 1.0, the Tuareg movement in Mali, and now ISIS.

Speaking of Mali…

5/21 – Wall Street Journal – Mali Rebels Seize Control of Two Towns – Tuareg rebels grabbed Kidal and Menaka.

5/31 – The Economist – The war is far from over – Somebody, presumably the Prime Minister though he denies it, ordered the Mali army to move on the rebels and separatists in Kidal, in the far northeast part of Mali. According to the article, the rout of the army only took a few hours. Fifty were killed, fifty captures, and 900 surrendered their weapons. Article says the new president has done little. Status of the country? No apparent change, other than a major, visible defeat in the field. From the article:

Unemployment, high prices, corruption and nepotism are as rife as ever. Islamic extremists, kidnappers, separatists and smugglers once again roam the sandy north with apparent ease.

Hopes to pull out all French troops have been dashed. The conflict is far from over.

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