NOTE: The views expressed here belong to the individual contributors and not to Princeton University or the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Swift and Proper Action Vital to Mali’s Crisis

By William Vu, MPA 2013

The precipitous turns that the country of Mali and its citizens have experienced over the past two weeks have stood in stark contrast to what has been perceived as a stable democracy in the West African region. It has seeped all the joy that was witnessed by Macky Sall’s democratic yet arduous pathway to power last weekend in Senegal.

The infighting between the Malian government and the army has resulted in a Tuareg rebellion by those from the MNLA to reclaim the northern frontier of Mali as the territory of Azawad. The ranks of rebels had swelled from returning fighters from Libya, and this served as the initial catalyst to this rebellion. As of this post, the rebels have succeeded in claiming the strategic towns of Gao, Kidal, and most recently the well-known, ancient town of Timbuktu, where the military held its biggest garrison.

While some may characterize it as the new “African Spring,” the apparent impetus for the coup was the government’s inability to provide soldiers with sufficient resources and ammunition to meet the rebels in the north. This led to a humiliating defeat for the army and a forced retreat. Escalating tensions finally reached a head between the army and the civilian government, and on March 21, President Amadou Toumani Touré (ATT) was ousted from power by a military junta. In the interim, stepped Captain Amadou Sanogo.
Ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré



Coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo

At that moment, leaders from all African nations and especially those in the region must have been on the edge of their seats. Although the rebellion had been in full swing for a couple months and reports of soldiers’ complaints against the government had surfaced, the thoughts of a coup would have been far-fetched. Democracy and stability were synonymous with Mali for two decades, a period of time that the track records that countries in the region have failed to emulate (i.e. Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone). It would be a stretch to say democracy was flourishing or that its citizens were completely satisfied with ATT and his government. There were still wide reports of rampant corruption and mismanagement, but relative to the rest of the region, Mali had served as an exemplar.

Furthermore, the presidential election was expected to take place in a little over a month before the coup began, on April 29th, with ATT expecting to leave office to make way for a new candidate. Such seamless political transitions are an oddity, given several West African leaders’ pre-disposure to extend their terms beyond the limits defined in their constitutions.  Yet with a twist of irony, ATT, who was a military officer himself, would be sacked by the same mechanism that brought him to power two decades earlier, a coup. 

Since Captain Sanogo and the junta have moved into power, the regional bloc of nations, Ecowas and the international community have failed to recognize their legitimacy. They have threatened the junta with financial sanctions, freezing of assets and the closure of land borders. As these sanctions take form, it is likely that their implementation will cripple the economy, especially since the nation’s petrol is imported. There have been reports also that commercial banks are limiting the withdrawal of funds up to $1000, as clients brace for the sanctions.

What might have been conceived as a plot to take over the reins of the government and install a military government has now turned into a chess match, with what concessions Ecowas and the civilian government are willing to offer the junta. Faced with the daily cascade of victories by the Tuaregs and the regional pressure to bow down, Captain Sanogo said on Sunday, that the junta would restore the nation’s constitution, and “organize free, open, and democratic elections” that the military will not participate in. This latter point is central because it is necessary that responsibility be returned to the civilian government. However, the military has still not offered a timeline for departure.

Taureg rebels captured control of major cities in northern Mali following the coup
Map of Mali

In the midst of all this internal turmoil between the President and the military, three discernible things have occurred: (1) The MNLA have gained control of the north, with more citizens likely to be caught in the crossfire as the fighting continues,  (2) the government remains in a state of confusion, (3) and finally the coup and the rebellion will only weaken the government’s ability to deal with the projected food crisis as the hot season approaches.

It is unsure how (1) and (2) will unfold, but it is necessary that the military and civilian government find a swift compromise. Each day that the civilian government and junta fail to find common ground, another day the Tuareg rebellion advances. Assuming that the leaders of the MNLA will not cease fighting unless they gain recognition of their independent homeland, Ecowas and the international community will have to send in reinforcements if they want to preserve the territorial integrity of Mali. Even if the Malian army reconciles its differences with the government, it appears that external military assistance will be necessary given the Malian army’s recent spate of defeats and the MNLA’s unlikeness to compromise. This is a struggle that could last for weeks, if not for months. Hopefully not for years.

(3) Finally, the event that might cause the biggest crisis is the projected food shortage. Some 13 million people in the Sahel region are facing food insecurity in 2012 as poor rains and locust attacks led to a drop in cereal production of 25 percent. Furthermore, over 200,000 people have been displaced since January with many fleeing to neighboring countries. With the conflict, the disruption of local and cross-border food markets have limited food supplies and increased prices, and it is expected that the lives and livelihoods of 3.5 million Malians were to be affected – even before the coup unfolded. Instability in the region will only aggravate the food insecurity. It is imperative that humanitarian aid continues to be ensured and that it reaches the north where the fighting is occurring. If not the stockpiles of dead bodies from starvation might dwarf those killed in any conflict.

As I periodically refresh my computer’s browser, my sense of optimism that a quick resolution between the military and the civilian government remains cautious. In no case is timing more of the essence, as the government and military not only have to deal with the Tuareg rebellion, but the impending food crisis. My thoughts drift not only to the soldier who steps upon the battlefield, but the mother who heads to the market and finds that food prices have increased beyond her budget. Thus, I can only hope that the actors in this show will make the proper decisions and soon…

12 comments:

  1. Interesting perspective. Hopefully, the focus on the political and military situation will not completely overshadow the food crisis.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Am here to testify of a great and powerful spell caster named "Dr.Unity" of Unityspelltemple@gmail.com I was so confused and devastated when my boyfriend left me for another girl. I needed him back desperately because i loved him so much. So i contacted this great spell caster for a help. He helped me cast a return love spell on him and just within 28 hours my boyfriend came back to me crying and begging for my forgiveness. I want to recommend this great spell caster to anyone that truly needs an urgent solution to his or her broken relationships and marriage. Simply contact the great "Dr.Unity" via email: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com or call him on his mobile number: +2348072370762.

    ReplyDelete
  9. How to Get Your Ex wife/husband Back..My wife and I have been married for 4 years almost 5 on November 11th. She recently told me she wasn't in love with me that she loved me more like a friend. She said she wants a divorce that she has been unhappy fora year now. I've been not so good as far as making promises and not keeping them but I have been trying to change and it doesn't seem to work. I love my wife to death and I took my vowels very seriously. I asked her to go to marriage counciling and she said no.we have 3 kids. We agreed to a 2 month break and try to work things out after that. Some of the problems we face are not having or own place to live and may be debt pile up. I really want things to work. The hurt that I feel is killing me and I’m to the point where I don’t eat and rarely drink anything.one day i was online and there was one particular testimony I saw, it was about a woman called Sonia ,she testified about how Dr.Unity brought back her Ex lover in less than 24 hours and at the end of her testimony she drop Dr.Unity e-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give Dr.Unity a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problems to him. In just 23 hours, my wife came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before.Dr.Unity is really a talented and gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man…If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve that problem for you. Try the great Dr.Unity today, he will be the answer to your problems. Here’s his contact:
    Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com .
    Call him or add him on whats-app: +2348071622464 .
    His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .
    Tom Irwin, Manchester, United Kingdom.

    ReplyDelete
  10. How to Get Your Ex boyfriend Back "I suggest you read this because I’m extremely happy that me and my bf living together again"‎ Am Mary 21yr from England, my boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on whats-app: +2348071622464 ,His website: http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey guys, how i got my Ex-husband back fast after a breakup ..
    I'm so excited my broken Marriage has been restored and my husband is back after a breakup, After 2 years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a (Love spell) for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before,All thanks to Dr Unity. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr Unity real and powerful spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your Ex back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact: Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,
    you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,
    his website:http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .
    Jessica, 26 years, Texas, USA.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi my name is Kate Clancy, I’m 24 years old. My ex boyfriend he broke up with me 5 weeks ago. I’m currently 15 weeks pregnant. We were together for 7 years (engaged the last). The day he broke up with me he said he “wanted to find himself, wanted to be free, and was confused if he still wanted to be with me or not.” I was devastated but was cool and calm because he’s been dealing with depression for 4 years and I think the news of our pregnancy broke him. I knew he was unhappy with himself because he got in a real bad car accident 4 years ago that changed his life. He lost his football scholarship, the chance to go to school, and hasn’t been able to find a job. When he broke up with me he said that he loves me and always will love me. When he decided to split I decided I wouldn’t contact him because he wanted space, but he calls me at least once a day to check on me. At times he offers to do favors for me like being me things when I’m sick and wash my car. I agree to let him do these things for me because I miss him so much and it seems like everytime I see him he still kisses me and tells me he loves me. He still wants to go to all our sons check up and I do invite him to them. I’m trying to be strong but his actions are confusing me. This was the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it, then he did a Lover-spell for me. 28 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again..All thanks to Dr Unity. If you have any problem contact Dr.Unity now and i guarantee you that he will help you..Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,you can also call him or add him on whats-app:+2348071622464 ,his website:http://unityspelltemple.webs.com

    ReplyDelete