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Posts Tagged ‘ Mali ’

Obama’s Dilemma And World Hesitation

OBAMA

Over a year ago I contributed a piece to this website which mentioned the use of torture by Syrian government forces in an organised fashion. It should be no surprise to us that the Assad regime has gone ahead and used gas on its own people. The Assad regime is without a doubt an evil regime hell-bent on maintaining power in any way possible. It is disheartening and tragic that this can continue in the twenty first century. We are essentially sitting watching another Rwanda happen, albeit over a longer period of time.

Living in the large shadow of the Gulf War II it is to be expected that western powers are going to be hesitant to intervene in another Middle East conflict. Assad’s regime is reportedly preparing for a U.S. strike, with reports coming through of troops, ordinance and sensitive documents being moved to civilian buildings and discreet locations. Obama’s decision to delay any possible action seems to be allowing time for Assad to prepare for this possibility. However the decision is hugely complex and Obama will have a number of motivations for his decision.

Following on Britain’s example, Obama is seeking Congressional approval for his action. One can easily see the allure of having a strong consensus built behind military action, given the disaster that was Iraq. Domestic factors may be present in the president’s mind. Intervening without Congressional approval (as in Libya) would leave Obama and the Democrats open to criticism from Rand Paul et al, hailing the UK as an example of how a democracy should decide on entering into a war. This would be an easy card to play to an American public which may balk at the prospect of another drawn out war. They have seen enough American boys come home in body bags.

Syria is also stocked full of new Russian anti-aircraft technology, and the supply chain will not halt any time soon. The UN is also unlikely to reach a strong consensus due to Russia and China’s position on the Security Council. This is an issue which needs to be changed as the current setup of the security council prevents it functioning to its full and proper potential.

There are numerous other complications so boggling that nobody can say with any certainty what will happen. The Islamic fundamentalist elements among the Syrian rebels are a mysterious threat. During this week, Iran threatened retaliation against Israel if Syria were struck. The war has already spilled over into Lebanon. Egypt, once reliable as a bastion of stability, is now more chaotic than any other point in recent years. One cannot blame America for being apprehensive about beginning to bomb a region that could inflame the whole region.

The great tragedy of these complications is that the carnage continues. This was the second gas attack by Syrian government forces, twice crossing Obama’s ‘Red Line’. The UK’s rash decision to avoid war, and America’s hesitation will send out the wrong message worldwide. This message is clear when we hear reports of the Syrian government taunting America’s aversion to war and loss of superpower status. To prevent mass war crimes against whole peoples in the future, perpetrators must understand they will be brought to justice. John Kerry has a reputation as a dull operator, but he has been an ardent supporter of intervention. He is one of a few prominent politicians with the conviction to call the Syrian government for what it is.

The firm line taken by France is hardly surprising given their willingness to become involved in former colonies like Chad and Mali.

Obama had missed the opportunity to be decisive and take a firm line on Syria. The UK has essentially forfeited its chance to help. The memories of Iraq, and the continuing deadlock of the U.N. Security Council means we are facing into more misery and more dead civilians with no end in sight.

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North Africa “A Magnet for Jihadists” Claims Cameron

 

dcDavid Cameron’s recent parliamentary address following the end of the hostage situation in Algeria discussed the ever increasing volatility of the north-western region of Africa. The recent stirrings in the region suggested a migrated threat; much of the Jihadist threat used to stem from places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, and still do to some extent, but Cameron now feels that the region in Africa is “a magnet for Jihadists”. Continue reading

A Look at the Degeneration of Mali: the Military Coup and Barbarism

Islamic Jihadist groups have capitalized on Mali’s weak political situation to place themselves, by force, in power in northern Mali. In an area as vast as France the Islamic rebels have imposed strict Shariah, and as a result, it is reported that almost half a million people have been forced to flee their homes. Those who have stayed are subject to the imposed Islamic law; women are advised to stay indoors, smoking is punishable by whipping, alcohol is forbidden, theft (supposed) is punishable by amputation of the hand, which happened to a man some 2 weeks ago in Ansongo, and adultery is punishable by stoning to death, a fate which befell a couple some weeks ago in Bamako. The parents had a number of children, the youngest just 6 months…

As if forcing your barbaric religious law upon a peaceful region wasn’t awful enough, the group Ansar Dine recently demolished an ancient mosque in the historic city of Timbuktu. In what was reminiscent of the destruction of the OldBridge in Mostar, Bosnia, by Catholic Croats, members of the Islamic group, armed with axes, destroyed the building that was of great cultural importance to the region. “It’s very simple: it doesn’t correspond to the rules of Islam…What doesn’t correspond to Islam, we will correct”, said Sanda Ould Boumana, a spokesperson for Ansar Dine.

 

The Military and the Coup

A military coup in the south of the country in March has meant that the Islamic groups, Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), have been able to descend upon the region and impose Shariah. The military staged a coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of Mali and to drive President Amadou Toumani Toure into exile. The coup left the northern territories vulnerable and the Islamic groups seized upon this niche. Some have said that Mali was a beacon of hope in Africa, the government being democratic and secular, but the truth is that the country was wrought with corruption. The question is posed whether it is justifiable to overthrow a democratically elected government by force? This raises some rather thorny questions; is it justifiable to leave such a corrupt government in place?  The trend of military coups has been an exponential prevalence in the past century. More often than not corrupt governments are replaced by a newly appointed government, but a new government with pro-military individuals taking seats in cabinet. And some may suggest this is what is happening in Mali. On Monday (20/08) a new government was appointed. Of the 31 ministers, 5 of them are perceived to be close associates of coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo.

In an article in March for Al Jazeera William Moseley wrote of the transition of the government following the coup, “If we are charitable and assume the best, then Sanogo may be a well-intentioned subaltern who unwillingly led a coup because he was fed up with rampant corruption, improper support of the military, and the declining welfare of the Malian people… Sadly, however, the ends do not justify the means. Coups are steely, double-edged swords, as one violent transition of power opens the door for yet another transition of power”.

The timing is somewhat suspicious. An upcoming election was due to be held some months after the coup. Instead of a coup, the military could have focused their efforts on eliminating the threat of militant Islamic groups in the north and let the civilian masses vote in the upcoming free elections. Their decision to undercut the government early may well suggest their intention to increase their influence in the cabinet.

The Northern Situation

Whatever the intentions of the military the threat of religious fundamentalism in the north is critical. The newly appointed government has stated the main concern is the situation in the north. The situation is indeed urgent; the groups, mainly Ansar Dine which is aligned with the Taliban, controls almost two-thirds of the country. The military commander of Ansar Dine, Omar Ould Hamaha, has said, “When we have finished conquering France, we will come to the USA, we will come to London and conquer the whole world…The banner of Muhammed will be raised from where the sun rises in the east to where it sets in the west”. The democratic and secular country of Mali has some work to do to rid its northern territory of these barbaric terrorist who hold imposed governance over the people and who seek to spread their horrific law. The newly appointed government of Mali also needs to counteract deep seeded corruption within the cabinet and may need to seek external assistance to aid them in the re-generation of their country, and the fight against barbarism in the north.

Shuki Sadan Byrne (22/08/2012).

Find Willaim Moseley’s Article Here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/03/2012331124714249529.html

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