Mali: No Peace, Just A Pause

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April 13, 2015: The peace talks hosted by Algeria are stalled by radical factions of the rebel alliance that insist on more autonomy than the government is willing to provide. The negotiators on both sides managed to work out an agreement that was to most factions but not for many of the armed and still angry young Tuareg men. The UN has threatened the holdout factions with sanctions but that had no impact. Between these holdouts and the active Islamic terrorists in the north it is obvious that for a significant minority of northerners the war for independence is not yet over. Most of these separatists are seeking a religious dictatorship. This is definitely not wanted by the majority of northerners. This is so typical of hotspots that peacekeepers have been sent to. A lack of fighting is interpreted as peace to keep when in reality it was just a pause in the violence as the local adversaries prepared for another round of armed struggle. The Tuareg and Arab majority in the sparsely populated north still don’t, after thousands of years, get along with the black African majority in the south. In hindsight the north should never have been made a part of Mali. The north is too poor and sparsely populated to be independent but would be better off as a province of Algeria. That will never happen.

All the neighbors have their own problems with Islamic terrorists. Algeria, despite the 2005 peace deal, still had about a hundred armed Islamic terrorists killed during 2014. So far this year it appears that number will be lower for 2015. The increased Algerian border security, especially on the Mali and Libyan borders has led to more arrests, but almost all of those caught are smugglers, not Islamic terrorists. Most of the smugglers are moving consumer goods (cheap fuel, expensive alcohol, gadgets and low level drugs like cannabis, for use in Algeria) and illegal migrants headed for Europe. That means that the Islamic terrorist problem is mainly locals, not killers from other countries.

The peacekeepers and aid workers in Mali are coming under attack more often. Nearly fifty aid workers and peacekeepers have died in the last two year and over 150 wounded.

April 12, 2015: In the south (Segou) a roadside bomb was used against a military truck. Two soldiers were killed and three others wounded. This is the second terrorist attack in the south since March.

April 10, 2015: Tuareg rebels again refused to approve a new peace treaty, apparently because hardliners in their coalition felt the agreement did not provide sufficient autonomy.

France cancelled a $69 million debt dating to the 1980s. Foreign aid and loans like this are usually stolen by corrupt officials, something that has been going on for decades and leaving large and growing unpaid debts in nations unable to repay. France, like many Western lenders, have found it easier to just forgive the older debt and concentrate on reducing the corruption.

April 6, 2015: In the north French commandos raided a Islamic terrorist camp in the desert and freed a Dutch tourist who had been kidnapped in Timbuktu during 2011 and held for ransom ever since. The commandos killed two Islamic terrorists and captured two others. France has been scouring northern Mali for several kidnap victims ever since the Islamic terrorists were driven out of the cities in 2013. Currently the search is concentrating on finding a Romanian mine worker seized in Burkina Faso on April 4th.

April 5, 2015: In the north (Gao) three (or possibly six) rockets were fired into the city killing one civilian and wounding two others.

April 3, 2015:  In the capital a house near the airport exploded and when police arrived they found bomb fragments and two bodies. One of the dead was apparently working on a bomb while the other was a security guard. Two wounded women were also found. They lived there with a man from Burkina Faso who was arrested and later admitted this was part of an Islamic terrorist plot to set off a bomb in the capital.

In central Mali (Boni) several armed men rode into a village on motorcycles, fired at the police station and town hall and then rode away. Two civilians were killed.

April 1, 2015: On the Burkina Faso border soldiers clashed with a group of armed men, killing three of them.

In the north someone fired several mortar shells at a peacekeeper base outside Gao. There were no injuries.

March 30, 2015: In the north (outside Gao) Islamic terrorists from MUJAO attacked a Red Cross truck and killed one man and wounded another.

March 23, 2015: In the north (Gao) a house exploded and police discovered that one of the two dead was a Islamic terrorist bomb maker who mishandled a bomb he was building. Apparently another Islamic terrorist survived and fled the scene.

March 18, 2015: The government said it would not continue peace talks with the northern rebels because the rebels were demanding too much autonomy. Algerian moderators later persuaded the government to reconsider and continue trying to work out a deal.

March 17, 2015: In the north (outside Gao) one of the four Dutch AH-64 helicopter gunships assigned to the peacekeeping force crashed while on a training mission. The two man crew was killed.

 

 

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