The situation in Africa

Uploaded by VestnikKavkaza on 24.01.2013

On January 7 this year, the rebels,
who since the beginning of 2012 had controlled the northern areas of the country,
went on the offensive against government forces. The situation in Mali was critical.
Therefore, the Government of the State requested the assistance of the international community,
and the first country to respond and support Mali was France,
which on January 10 sent troops to the country.
Today in Mali there are about 2 thousand French troops,
as well as the contingent of the Economic Community of West African States.
A week after the escalation of the situation in Mali
the world became aware of the hostage-taking in Algieria.
The taking of hostages in Algeria is associated with the beginning of the French military operation in the country.
Philip Yugon, research director of the Institute of Strategic and Interregional Relations, specialist on Africa
You've probably heard of the French intervention in Libya, which was undertaken for a number of reasons,
given the situation in Benghazi.
But we must at the same time take into account the fact that,
in addition to many of the problems that emerged,
there was a general question of the stabilization of the region, because of the military intervention in Libya.
This is one of the factors that is related to the crisis, I stress - one of the factors,
because the Malian crisis is much older.
This is drug trafficking, this is the fact that there was a political relationship
with the military regime heading a number of networks.
There is a certain tolerance for those who find themselves in the north of Mali.
That is a crisis, and in Mali, the political crisis in the north is poorly controlled by the government.
We can add to this movement the problem of the Tuaregs, a movement which organizes uprisings,
very often they are quite aggressive, and we are aware of the requirements of the Tuaregs in the north.
Add to this the consequences of the Libyan crisis:
Gaddafi's mercenaries returned with guns and took control of the north.
There were the Tuaregs and other groups, because in northern Mali there are not only the Tuaregs,
there are a lot of groups, but most of the groups are Tuaregs.
Also, there were the Tuareg movements which demanded the independence of Azavad,
which was not part of the regular requirements of the Tuaregs,
because usually they demanded more rights and the integration in the state apparatus and the army,
they demanded recognition of their particular culture, but they did not demand independence.
A coup took place in Mali, the regime was overthrown, and the Malian army was in a state of disorganization.
There was also a crisis of legitimacy of political power, so Libya is surely one of the elements that played a role.
But we need to view this in a more long-term approach. This is a political, internal crisis, which is taking place in Mali.
Eugene Korendyasov, Head of the Research Center of Russian-African Relations and African foreign policy at the Institute for African Studies of the RAS
These are the results of the not very far-sighted operations of the Western coalition that were carried out against the regime in Libya.
Gaddafi had played a moderating role in recent years, at least in this region.
His defeat led to the fact that the Salafi extremist forces in the Sahara and Sahel region
get very serious military support.
Without Libya, we would be unlikely to have encountered the crisis we are now facing in the Sahara and Sahel zone.
Yes, the crisis in Mali has deep and varied roots.
This is the fourth uprising of the Tuaregs in defense of their values, to protect their rights.
The previous three uprisings were resolved primarily through negotiations
with the active participation of Algeria and France.
This uprising started on 17 January last year, and it has continued, therefore, more than a year;
it is different from the previous ones, and it is characterized primarily by the fact
that the protest movement of the Tuaregs, which has some justification,
as the Tuareg people are now under existential threat due to periodic drought, the crisis of the caravan trade, and so on;
this movement is headed by Islamist extremist forces.
Indeed, Ben Mokhtar has a great track record.
It was started when he was 19 years old, in Afghanistan,
and at a meeting which took place in the late 1990's with the participation of the deceased leader Osama bin Laden
it was decided to establish a base in the Sahara and the Sahel zone. Ben Mokhtar is also known in Russia,
because, to our knowledge, he has been in contact with several leaders of the Chechen armed movement against Russia.
The fact that they headed the movement and used the crisis of consensus democracy,
which has undermined the control of Malian state, is a fact.
And the power, strength and capabilities of these jihadist organizations and cells were underestimated.
Some analysts have argued that 12 years after 9/11 the potential of Al Qaeda has fallen.
It turned out that it has not fallen; it remains high and is a major international threat,
and this was confirmed by the events in Algeria.
Intervention and suppression of these forces is quite necessary.
The military phase of the operation, which began in France under existing Security Council resolutions,
as we know, the Security Council almost a day after the military coup took up Malian problems and the Malian crisis,
at the request of the Malian leadership, the leaders of Malian state, was legitimate and, overall, was started timely.
The fight will probably still continue.
The Malian events have once again raised the question: how to build a relationship with the Islamic world?
Mali is the fifth country with a Muslim population that has been exposed to outside intervention from the developed world,
so to speak. And, of course, this problem arises, and this problem is not simple.
And now, as you can see, most of the Arab world has criticized, if not condemned,
the intervention of France in Mali, I am speaking about Egypt and other countries.
They reacted to this problem with harsh criticism.
This forces us to turn our critical faculties to the side:
could Mali be turned into a sort of Sahelistan or, as some experts say - a New Afghanistan?
Would this be the beginning of a new strategic counter-offensive by Salafi extremists and Islamist forces?
Could this put it at risk, if not jeopardize, the existence of other countries in Europe?
The French government has rightly raised the necessary degree of security in its departments.
I think we should proceed from the fact that the operation of Islamist forces in Mali is not an isolated phenomenon.
Obviously, we can assume that it is a part of a broader plan.