Turmoil continues in Mali. A few recent articles I noticed:
European Union decides to keep their troops in the fight
Another round of retaliation for retaliation
Five countries will add troops to the counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel
1/19/17 – Strategy Page – Mali; Europe Agrees to Stay and Fight – European Union has decided to keep 500 military trainers in Mali to provide ongoing training to officers and NCOs for the long-term. Article says it takes a decade to professionalize a military force. Corruption is so endemic in Mali and other African countries (I will make a guess same concept applies in Asia and South America as well) that it takes that long to train officers and the NCO cadre to avoid corruption.
The US is increasing its troops and surveillance resources in Africa.
10/10 – Strategy Page– Intelligence: Long Eyes in Central Africa– (Yeah, I’ve been holding this post for a while.) The U.S. is building its second airbase in Africa, this time in Agadez, Niger. Aerial surveillance aircraft will fly out of the base along with unmanned UAVs, including armed UAVs, according to the article.
This base will serve growing intel needs in Libya, Chad, and Nigeria, according to the article. It is also next door to Mali so it can support intel needs there.
Some sadness from Mali along with an encouraging dose of justice.
The branch of Al Qaeda in Mali carried out a terrorist attack in Ivory Coast this past spring.
The lead terrorist who destroyed many cultural artifacts in Timbuktu gets 11 years in prison after a humiliating confession in court.
3/14/16 – Wall Street Journal – Al Qaeda Turns Sights on Africa Success Story– On 3/14, terrorists from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb shot up a beach resort in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, killing at least 15 people. That is the al Qaeda offshoot operating out of Mali that has been terrorizing Mali.
Quoted experts have been concerned that group would start reaching out to economically developed countries, such as Ivory Coast or Senegal.
The attack was in Grand-Bassam, which is about 25 miles from Abidjan.
Ivory Coast has worked hard to achieve an average 9% growth rate over the last four years. Good for the people there and their government!
9/27/16 – Wall Street Journal – Islamist Sentenced to Nine Years for Timbuktu Shrine Destruction – Soldiers of Ansar Dine destroyed Muslim shrines in Timbuktu that are many hundreds of years old. Nine mausoleums in total were destroyed. The door to the Sidi Yahia mosque, so the story goes, hasn’t even been opened in 500 years. All but one of the destroyed sites were on the World Heritage roster of UNESCO.
(Over five hundred years old! Here in California, we are impressed by buildings that are standing 50 or 60 years later. A notable historical restoration project in my city consists of sprucing up a gas station from the ’50s that is on the old Route 66.)
Barron’s suggests Mansa Musa, the Emperor of Mali in the 1300s, was the richest man who ever lived.
(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Attestation Update. The article is brought into this blog because previous discussions addressed the tragic civil war in Mali. Mansa Musa provides background to the rich history of the country.)
Since I firmly believe that I am richer today than John D. Rockefeller was back in 1916, I would also insist that I am, right now, richer than Mansa Musa was in 1324. But that isn’t the point of the story. I’ll mention travel costs momentarily.
al-Qaeda attack on hotel in Bamako is over. Hostages are free.
11/20 – AP – Islamic Extremists Attack Hotel in Mali’s Capital– Militants, “Islamic extremists” is the AP’s approved word, attacked a luxury hotel in Bamako taking over a hundred people hostage. The Malian army quickly moved to take back the hotel. At the time the article was filed, the rescue efforts were still underway.
Interesting tidbit is the Malian army troops were being supported by US and French special forces. A quote from an official spokesman from the U.S. Africa Command said special forces are training the Mali troops.
Media coverage of the tragedy in Central African Republic is taking on a slanted, agenda-laded bias worthy of American media in a U.S. presidential race.
(I have been sitting on this post for months. Think it is time to post.)
Shouldn’t be necessary, but I suppose it is necessary to say I denounce the destruction of religious houses of worship, especially when such facilities are targeted because they are houses of worship. I also denounce violence targeted against people because of the way they worship.
Let me know if you think the following articles are talking about the same country.
Hasn’t been a lot of news from Mali lately, or at least that I’ve seen. Probably just a reflection on my poor ability to pay attention.
Well, there was news last week.
Islamic extremists (that’s the description in the AP article) attacked a hotel in Sevare, taking hostages and battling government troops. A Malian special operations team flew in from Bamako to join the fight and retook the hotel. The rebels held the hotel for about 24 hours.
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.
Not much news to mention on Mali, which is probably a reflection on my attentiveness. Sad news continues to come out of CAR.
12-7 – Economist – Taken down a peg – Behind the indictment and pending trial of the captain who led the coup leading to the current instability, the Economist staff see continuing political turmoil and institutional weakness. It does show, to the writer, that the new president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, is in control.
Not a lot of news from Mali, but perhaps that is just a reflection on my limited observation abilities. I’ve also been watching as conditions in Central Africa Republic disintegrate. Unlike most people, I’m aware of the country. Why? Many years ago I actually had my feet on the ground for a day.
A few news articles on the situation in Mali before I mention CAR.