Sunday, February 17, 2013

French Involvement in Mali

After Mali's independence from France in 1960, the French have been back in Mali conducting military operations (BBC).  Mali had been a democratic country since 1992 until last year when conflict in the North caused a loss in confidence of the government by the military.  In the beginning of 2012 there was an inconclusive military coup and president Toure was removed from office before the military took control of the government (BBC).   The military coup hands control of the country over to a civilian interim government led by President Dioncounda Traore (BBC).  In early 2013 President Traore asked for French intervention in the North because of the threat from Islamist rebels in the North (BBC).  The French have been conducting military operations there since January and they have finally gotten their first aid convoy into the north this month (Associated Press).  The French have successfully liberated Timbuktu from the Islamist rebels, and continue to conduct air strikes on Islamist forces in the North (Associated Press).  

This picture shows the main concentrations of French airstrikes against Islamist rebels in the northern part of Mali.

With French involvement in Mali the country has become more stable and the government has been able to solidify control (Gordon).  The rebel movement is ending most likely because of its violent nature.  There is a much higher cost for people to join a violent movement and this can be a reason that the rebels in the north could not gain more support.  The rebels also became associated with Islamist Extremist groups and this compromised the movement.  After the Islamist extremists started fighting then the international community turned against the movement.  That was when the French came in with an intervention effort (Gordon).  If the Taureg rebels had conducted a nonviolent protest movement the whole thing might have been different.  But with the current situation the stability of the country is favoring the current government.  The government is even planning on having a democratic election on July 7 (BBC).  By having presidential and legislative elections in July, Mali is showing its return to the democracy it was for the majority of the last two decades.  Also, with the French and UN intervention and peacekeeping mission, the country should remain stable enough to allow for the Democratic government to remain in power.  

Associated Press, French forces in Mali launch air strikes on Islamist camps, The Guardian. 3 Febuary 2013.   

 BBC, Mali Profile, News Africa. 29 January 2013.

             BBC. Mali sets 7 July election date, says minister. News Africa. 15 Febuary 2013. 
Gordon, Michael. Official Details French Role in Mali.  The New York Times. 14 February 2013.   

Wintercross, Will. Audio slideshow: The road to Timbuktu, a journey through the Malian conflict. The Telegraph. 14 Febuary 2013.


1 comment:

  1. While some thought that the French intervention in Mali would be similar to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it appears that will not be the case. The French in a fairly short amount of time have been able to snuff out the rebels from many key locations through the use of airstrikes. They have helped restore legitimacy to a fairly democrat government who plans to have elections in July. It seems that most of the citizens in Mali prefer stability to revolution. This reminds me of the attitudes of many Egyptians before, during and after their revolution. However, in the case of Mali, it appears that preferring the status quo is better than supporting the rebel groups. While this was the opposite in Egypt the two countries present an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast. Likewise French support in Mali presents another opportunity to compare and contrast with the invasion of Iraq. Sometimes because the Middle East seems so complicated it appears hard to draw connections between situations in various countries. However, with just a little knowledge of the happenings in the Middle East connections can quickly be made between the MENA countries. By reading this blog I have noticed many such connections.