Something needed to be done


«Unconfirmed reports say the Franco-African offensive in Mali has claimed the lives of hundreds of Touareg rebels and militant Islamists. Observers in Mali put the number of dead militants to 800. Among those killed are some senior commanders including Mohamed Ag Aghaly Ag Wambadja, Moulaye Ag Ahmed, and Hassane Habré allegedly killed on January 10, 2013 in Kona.(…) With the Kona offensive, the Ansar Dine organization’s leadership seems to have eroded substantially. Ansar Dine is apparently the most hit of the three organizations operating in Northern Mali. These organization are Ansar Dine, MUJAO and Al-Qaeda affiliate.(…)As this conflict goes on, two issues are likely to come front and center in the months and possibly years to come. Firstly, most, if not all the casualties in this conflicts bear unmistakably Touareg names. And so even as the press often refers to them as “Islamist militants”, most of those on the receiving end of the offensive are Touareg ethnics and a perception of ethnic cleansing may happen if the conflict drags on and grievances not addressed. In the longer run, the divisions between northern and southern Mali could be further exacerbated with the Touaregs being the losers. The second point is that Al Qaeda could end up being the winner in this war. With the Touaregs being the targets of French combat helicopters, Al Qaeda now has enough reasons to call for a wider rebellion in the Sahara and rally more troops in its cause. The attack against an Algerian gas processing site near the Algerian-Libya border is an example of what a spillover effect may look like. Finally, although it is understandable and legitimate that Bamako and the rest of Mali called for help to stop the rebels’ southbound offensive, it is deplorable that a political solution could not be reached. In this debacle, the Touareg leadership is also to blame as it has failed to comprehend the consequences of their actions. However, the moderate and secular voices within the Touareg movement have been silenced, and overrun by individuals and groups with Jihadist tendencies. France’s gung-ho attitude could also be a problem in resolving this conflict, and France is already preparing to see retaliations against its interests. With such a messy environment, the outlook for Mali and the region remains bleak.» Also there’s this little detail «An Eldorado of Uranium, Gold, Petroleum, Strategic Minerals …»

Mali is a nation with a proud history of culture, learning and the arts. It was the seat of three Sahel empires; Ghana, Mali and Songhai. Timbuktu, the historical center of Islamic learning, is the home to over 1,000,000 of lost medieval African scrolls, ranging from scholarly works in  mathematics, science, philosophy to astronomy, law and short letters, that were preserved by its private citizens. The 14th-century ruler of West Africa’s Mali Empire, King Mansa Musa, amassed $400 billion during his West African reign, and that has made him the estimated richest person of all time. And the land of the great Ali Farka Touré.

‘Peace. This too shall pass.’


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