Mali: Europe prepares intervention
As Islamist miltias have established Taliban-like rule in northern Mali since taking the vast territory in March, regional powers have been muddling towards military intervention. On Nov. 21, Reuters reported that "military experts from Africa, the United Nations and Europe have drafted plans to retake control of northern Mali." We are told that "African leaders will this month seek a UN mandate to send a mainly West African force of some 4,000 to Mali to...back military operations to retake swathes of the Sahara desert from rebels." Quoted is Stephen O'Brien, the UK's first special envoy to the Sahel, speaking from Nigeria: "This deep insecurity... we have to recognize that, unless it is checked and it is not met, then it will have the potential for export." He called the Mali crisis was "a universal threat" with "the capability of threatening interests outside the...region." While no other European countries are mentioned, we may assume that France will play a leading role.
We reported in July, following our sources, that the secular Tuareg rebel army, the MNLA, had been dirven by Islamist militia from their last stronghold in northern Mali, Ansogo. But they apparently maintained one more foothold; AP reported Nov. 20 the MUJAO drove MNLA forces from Menaka. Both towns appear to be in the region of Gao. (Compare this map showing towns with this map showing regions.)
After all the atrocities committed by the Islamists in northern Mali, of course the British envoy can only pose the question in terms of the supposed threat to "interests outside the region." The sad thing is that anti-war forces in the West mirror this mentality. After utterly ignoring Mali since the Islamists took over, the lefties will suddenly notice the place once the West intervenes. Some, in kneejerk fashion, will root for the Islamists. Indeed, it would be much better for all concerned if the Islamists were ousted by an uprising of the Malian people. There have been some encouraging signs in this direction...