[Diplomacy] Mali Crisis, Taureg rebels, French Troops, Algeria Hostages: Background, implications explainedDevendra Vishwakarma
- What is Mali?
- Players in Mali crisis?
- Who are the Tuareg?
- Gaddafi Angle: 2011
- Azawad: Jan-April 2012
- Mali President overthrown: March 2012
- Entry of French Troops: Jan 2013
- Back to Northern Mali
- What is AQIM?
- Implications of Mali Crisis?
- Algeria Hostage Crisis
- Mock Questions
What is Mali?
Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa, Earlier it was a French colony. Mali gained independence in 1960.
Players in this crisis?
|Faction||Teams||What do they want?|
||They want to impose Islamic law across Mali|
||Same. They earn ca$h by kidnapping westerners and drug-traffic. They’re the ‘richest’ among all rebels.|
||Earlier they wanted to create a separate nation for Tureg people, but now they just want autonomy.|
||–doesn’t have enough firepower to match rebels.|
||Sent troops because it Mali’s official army is ill-equipped to fight the rebels.|
Who are the Tuareg?
- Nomadic people who live in Sahara and Sahel regions of Libya, Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
- In medieval times, they used to run Camel caravans across Sahara- trading gold, spices, salts and dates.
- Sometimes called the Blue People because they mostly wear dark blue / indigo colored traditional garments.
What is their problem?
- We reside in Northen Mali.
- While capital city = Bambako = located in South.
- Government sits there and does nothing for our development.
- We’re “light skinned”. And all good positions in Government and bureaucracy manned by black people.
- We are not getting any jobs, education etc.
- Villages getting displaced due to mining activities, and the subsequent land-degradation =bad for our farms, cattle.
So Tuareg people had been rebelling against the “South” since a long time.
Gaddafi Angle: 2011
- Colonel Gaddafi (of Libya) had been hiring Tuareg tribesmen in his army.
- 2011=Uprising in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi gets killed.
- So these Tuareg tribesmen (from Libyan army) formed their own new rebel group called “MNLA”.
- They took possession of powerful weapons, surface-to-air missiles etc. from Gaddafi’s fallen army and decided to come back home.
- They came back home (Northern Mali) and started fighting against the Mali Government. (+Other Islamic militants were also active in the region so they got help.)
Azawad: Jan-April 2012
- From January 2012 onwards, there is heavy fighting between rebels and Mali army, in the Northern areas of Mali.
- But the army did not have powerful weapons. so They had to flee.
- Thus MNLA rebels took control of Northern Areas of Mali and declared it a free country called “Azawad.” (in April 2012)
- However, this Azawad country has not been recognized by UN or any powerful country (US/China etc.)
Mali Crisis: President overthrown, March 2012
So far you know that
- Tuareg people = unhappy.
- Some of them served in Libyan army but came back home after death of Gaddafi. (+brought heavy weapons.)
- These rebels fought against Mali army and threw them out of Northern Mali.
- So, now Mali army= unhappy.
- Army blamed President Toure for this fiasco.
- Why? Because USA was giving truckload of ca$h to President of Mali to fight off the Islamist terror groups.
- But this President was just using that money for his personal “aiyyaashi” (=buying sports cars, Rolex watches, diamond studded i-phone1,2,3,4,5, consuming desi liquor and… you get the picture.)
- That’s why Mali army did not have good weapons, tanks, gadgets to fight with the rebels..
- One army officer named Captain Sanogo gathered the soldiers and staged a coup against this President and threw him out. (Although later this Captain handed over power to next President Traoré.)
- So right now Mali army is divided into factions – one of them supports the old ousted President Toure and wants to bring him back in power.
Entry of French Troops: Jan 2013
- While all this mess was going on, the extremists groups from Northern Mali, started capturing the areas in Central Mali region. (such as Timbuktu)
- New President panicked and called up French President:
|New President of Mali||please help us. Our army is ill-equipped, divided into factions.
We’ve neither the weapons nor the morale to fight these rebels. So come help us.
|French President Francois Hollande||I cannot allow a “terrorist state” to emerge in Mali.
Ungoverned spaces in Mali could provide a launch-pad for Jihadist attacks in Europe and elsewhere.
But USA, UN or African Union are doing nothing!
So I’ll send my own French army to fight against these terror groups.
|AQIM (Extremist group)||@French President, buddy you’re making a grave mistake.
Now we will retaliate by striking back at the heart of France (Paris). You just wait and watch.