Mali update – 10-25-13

Haven’t noticed much news from Mali lately, but that is probably a reflection on my observation skills, or lack thereof.

10-25 – France 24 – French forces to combat Mali ‘terrorists’, says Hollande – Troops from France, Mali, and the U.N. stepped up operations on Thursday in northern Mali against Islamists forces. The goal is to provide stability in advance of legislative elections the end of November.

Continue reading “Mali update – 10-25-13”

Mali update – 8-12-13 – Mali has a new president

Wow. Election is resolved in Mali a day after the balloting and before the official results are announced.

On Monday Soumaila Cissé, former finance minister, conceded to Ibrahim Keita, a former prime minister.

Not that my voice matters to anyone, but I wish from the bottom of my heart that Mr. Keita will have a successful presidency and bring peace and prosperity to his country.

See Wall Street Journal – Keita Wins Mali Vote After His Opponent Concedes for the news.

Other background articles

Continue reading “Mali update – 8-12-13 – Mali has a new president”

Mali update – 7-10-13

Not much news from Mali that I’ve noticed. There is progress, but at a deeper level than I can see in the few news sources I watch. I suppose that is only a commentary on me.

7-8Economist – Secure the Sahara, if you can

Three pieces of very good news, at least from my limited perspective. From the article: Continue reading “Mali update – 7-10-13”

Mali update – 3-24-13

3-22Wall Street Journal – Mali Militants Attack Airport

The Timbuktu airport was attacked with a suicide-bomber and follow-on infiltration attempt. Airstrikes drove off the attackers. Claimed losses are one Malian soldier killed, two wounded, and 15 attackers killed.

3-21Wall Street Journal – U.S. Sanctions Mali Terror Group

The U.S. State Department and Treasury Department officially sanctioned Ansar al-Dine as a terrorist group on Thursday.

3-22Africa is a Country – Welcome to Mali

Gregory Mann has a superb discussion of the goals of various parties. His description is that there are multiple wars underneath the visible battle with all the players having different goals. France, the Malian civilian government, the Malian military (which is not quite under the control of the civil government according to the article), the Tuarag people group (MNLA), and the mujahideen (AQIM and Ansar al-Dine) are each fighting a different war. France has one of several possible goals, none of which are in sight at the moment.

Great article, which also shows the complexity of the conflict there. Also shows how much I have to learn.

Mali update – 3-10-13

3-4Wall Street Journal – U.S. Boosts War Role in Africa

The U.S. drone operations in Mali run from the base in Niger are actively feeding intel and targeting data to the French. The article says the Reaper drones provided info for about 60 airstrikes in the preceding week.

3-6Wall Street Journal – France to Start Drawing Down Troops in Mali

France with reduce troop levels starting early in April. They lost their fourth soldier in country.

There are 2,000 troops from Chad. Previous reports indicate many of them were trained by U.S. special forces.

Mali update – 2-17-13

2-11Wall Street Journal – French, Malians Retake Gao After Assault by Militants

Militants attacked the city of Gao. After an apparent running gun battle, the French and Malian troops chased the rebels out of town.

2-15Wall Street Journal – French Lessons in Mali

Let’s see if I can put this in one sentence.

The Tuareg in northern Mali (MNLA) will cooperate with the French against the jihadists but continue to have long-running grievances with the Malian government and army thus won’t cooperate with them, so to get out of the country France needs to negotiate a political deal between the government and MNLA.

Am I close? I’m not sure

2-16New York Times – In Mali, the Peril of Guerrilla War Looms

The jihadists/rebels/militants have reportedly blended in with the locals at villages near Goa. They can hide in plain sight. Looks like they may wait for an opportunity to strike back.

Mali update – 2-10-13 – The ‘fun’ part is over while the war has just begun

Some of the news of the last week –

2-2The Guardian – Inside Gao where Arab jihadis took bloody sharia retribution on Mali’s black Africans

More stories are surfacing of the brutality of the occupation. In addition, the punishments appear to have been dispensed on an ethnic basis: Continue reading “Mali update – 2-10-13 – The ‘fun’ part is over while the war has just begun”

Mali update – 2-3-13

Updates from the last week. Don’t know how long I’ll keep posting these summaries, since they are a bit off-topic for my blog. For the moment, plan to continue them a little longer.

1-29Wall Street JournalFrench and Malian Forces Retake Timbuktu.

The militants (that’s the WSJ style definition) left Timbuktu before the troops arrived, which allowed the French forces to retake the city without a battle. There are now 3,500 French troops on the ground.

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Mali update – afternoon of 1-27

Events are moving fast in Mali. Here is my brief summary, in roughly chronological order.

First, The Conflict in Mali is an interactive map from the Wall Street Journal. It has a very useful map, another tab with a list & background of the key players, and a timeline. Good resource to check. Locating the cities helps to understand the context.

I’ve been scratching my head about the French requests for heavy transport and in-flight refueling assistance from the U.S. Looks to this simple observer like they cannot project a force of 2,500 troops. It is a good start to have ability to lift the troops into a hotspot. That is only the start.

Just making a totally wild guess, the food, fuel, water, and parts needed to sustain such a force for one day probably weights more than the troops on the ground. And that is without ammo, explosives, jet fuel, and bombs. Further, 2,500 is not a particularly large force.

Continue reading “Mali update – afternoon of 1-27”