Mali: new prez pledges “total war” against Tuaregs; Sarkozy pleased

A civilian transition president—Dioncounda Traore, leader of the national assembly—was sworn in April 13 in Mali, under a deal brokered by West African powers with leaders of the last month’s coup d’etat. At his inauguration, he told cheering crowds he he would “never negotiate about the partition of Mali.” Refering to the rebels that have seized power in the north, he said: “We won’t hesitate to wage a total, relentless war to regain our territorial integrity and also to kick out of our country all these invaders who bring despair and misery.” (AP, April 13) Ironically, his accusations of an “invasion” came just as a foreign military intervention is being organized to beat back the northern rebels. In Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy talked as if France were in charge of the operation: “We have to work with the Tuaregs to see how they can have a minimum of autonomy and we must do everything to prevent the establishment of a terrorist or Islamic state in the heart of the Sahel,” he said on TV. Asked if France will be involved in the intervention, he said: “I don’t think it’s up to France to do it. France is ready to help, but we cannot be the leader…” (Reuters, April 14)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay raised other concerns. In a statement, she said: “The urgency of the situation in Mali is exacerbating an already extremely serious humanitarian crisis affecting the whole of the Sahel region, and the country may soon be plunged into a devastating food crisis with a risk of other shortages, including medical supplies, if the insurrections and insecurity persist.” (Jurist, April 12)

Who actually controls the north remains unclear. The Tuareg rebels of the MNLA continue to issue statements espousing their democratic aims and decrying efforts to associate them with Islamists. Meanwhile, Inter-Press Service, one of the few media outlets to provide interviews from observers and residents on the ground in northern Mali, reports that all three of the northern cities—Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal—are in the hands of Islamist factions, most prominently Ansar al-Din (Supporters of the Faith). Magharebia, a news service of the Pentagon’s Africa Command, quotes “terrorism analyst” Mohamed Mahmoud Aboulmaaly saying: “People coming from areas ruled by Ansar al-Din, such as Tessalit and Aguelhok, say it is like life in Afghanistan at the time of Taliban.”

See our last posts on the Tuareg struggle and France in Africa.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.

  1. Once again we see the true imperatives of the Eurogenic nations.
    Preventing nation-states from forming, that is, states organized upon ethnic lines: nationism is a priority.
    The Tuaregs are no threat to European or American interests directly, but the states left in place by the colonial regimes must be inviolate, no matter how irrational their borders, the desires of the peoples who live there, or the atrocities of the regimes in power in the capitals.
    The less a state represents an ethnicity and the more it represents the commercial and/or military elite castes, the better the Western powers like it.
    The poor Tuaregs will now be treated to the sort of intervention which began the Congo’s troubles decades ago.

    I am reminded of the Boxer Rebellion in China IIO years ago: a coalition of Western and Eastern Imperialists (Russia & Japan) conniving at suppressing a nationist rebellion.

    1. Please don’t fall for ethno-nationalism
      Ethnic nationalism is not a positive alternative to the globalist Borg. They are equal and opposite pathologies that merely fuel each other. As we saw in the ex-Yugoslavia in the ’90s, if the Tuareg now establish an ethnic nationalist state, this will create new classes of aggrieved minorities under their rule (Arabs, Songhai, Fulani, etc.), who can cite the precedent as justification for their own rebellion, in a ceaseless cycle. (They are still at it in the ex-Yugoslavia, if anyone bothered to pay attention.)

      The Zapatistas in Chiapas have forged a more positive model—local autonomy based on multiculuralism, rather than statehood based on ethnic nationalism. It’s become very fashionable to argue that they’ve become moribund and failed in their revolutionary aspirations—but I will point out that 18 years after their rebellion, they continue to have a self-governing chunk of liberated territory, without even having resorted to arms to keep it. Pretty impressive, I’d say.

      I’m not sure the Congo war can entirely be blamed on Western intervention…