Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Fight for Northern Mali

            Until the March 2012 coup d’état, Mali was considered to be a model for democracy.  Low ranking military officials who were elemental within the coup believed that the government in place was not taking proper and strict enough action against the Islamist and Taureg rebel groups (Nossiter, 2012).  These rebel groups became much stronger and more resilient, taking advantage of the unstable nature Mali had spiraled into after the 2012 military coup and took over the northern part of Mali (The New York Times, 2013). This northern area became a training ground for Islamist terrorists and extremists.  Included within this governmental disregard for sanctioning rebel groups, military leaders were unhappy with the lack of funds and training that the military troops were receiving.  The lack of training and equipment was causing the military to be unable to protect Mali and rid the country of the Islamist and Taureg rebels.  With the Malian government being overthrown, there has been an interim president in place but the focal power is still derived from the military. There are now negotiations put in place to reinstate a presidential leader through free and fair election on the 7th of July 2013 (BBC News, 2013). 

            It is extremely important to note that although the country of Mali has been in disarray since the coup in 2012, there has been progress towards reestablishing democracy and sufficient training of Malian troops by foreign benefactors, such as the French army.  There have been many negative uprisings connected with Islamist groups which seek to force more strict policies to be put in place which requires Mali civilians to follow their interpretations of extremist Islamic law.  Here, it must be recognized that the democratic government which is beginning to make its way back is supported by the majority of civilians, who have been kept relatively safe in the South of Mali.  This government is looking to enforce policies that will promote a better foundation for contriving Stepan’s twin tolerations theory (2011). 
            According to Chenoweth and Stephan, nonviolent protests are more conducive to being successful, where violent protests are more likely to fail (2011). With the extreme backlash from Mali’s neighboring countries military, it can be derived that these countries are there to promote democracy.  For instance, France has brought numerous troops to help train and protect the country of Mali and Germany has provided foreign aid as well as air support to transfer more African troops to Mali (Gorzewski, 2013).  This international support is due to countries worry that if Mali is taken by these rebel groups that the country will become a safe haven for terrorist activity.  By taking action to help Mali, those who are suffering throughout MENA are able to see the direct effects of international support for democracy. 
            The increase of military action is important, and must persist until the northern region is taken.  If this does not happen then Mali will become a dangerous country, and will be a threat to all of MENA. Although the fight is far from over, as long as concise support and rigorous policies are put in place, Mali's democratic government could very well win and go back to being a model of democracy once more.

"BBC News - Mali sets 7 July election date, says minister." BBC - Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2013. <>.
"Mali News - Breaking World Mali News - The New York Times." Times Topics - The New York Times. N.p., 22 Mar. 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2013. <>.
"Mali: 10 questions and answers | Africa | DW.DE | 15.02.2013 ." TOP STORIES | DW.DE. N.p., 15 Feb. 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2013. <>.
NOSSITER, ADAM. "Soldiers Overthrow Mali Government -" The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2013. <>.

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