Potential Hot Spots: September 16, 2004

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Mali is turning into yet another Sahel battlefield, with 13 dead in recent tribal clashes. The unrest in Sudan's Darfur region has gotten a lot of attention. But a similar battle over scarce land and water resources is going on in Mali as well. The Sahel region is the band of semi-arid land stretching across Africa, just south of the Sahara desert. Northern Mali is pure Sahel, and for centuries, Tuareg, Arab and black tribesmen have been fighting with each other for control of crop and grazing land. The government of Mali has used this conflict to try and maintain order. This is particularly neccessary since a peace deal with the Tuareg (a fair skinned group related to the ancient Egyptians), required that the army withdraw from its northern Mali outposts. The pro-government Arab Kounta tribe are fighting various Arab Islamic militant groups in the area. The fight is not over religion or politics as much as it is over land and water.  

 

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