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DominicX's avatar

What are your thoughts on the current situation in Mali?

Asked by DominicX (28762points) January 15th, 2013

I’m surprised I haven’t seen a question about this yet. The French have recently been fighting alongside the Malian government against Islamist rebels who have been seizing power in the north of the country. Many people see this situation analogous to the Taliban and Afghanistan. Do you think Mali may be the next Afghanistan? Should the United States get involved (it doesn’t seem likely)? Is it worth trying to stop these radical Islamist groups from taking over countries and imposing strict sharia law?

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12 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I think the French are insane and fail to learn from their own history and ours. Groups like this thrive in the presence of a foreign power to unite the populace behind them. Every drone strike creates orphans ready to take up arms. This will end badly for them.

ETpro's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Sadly, that’s exactly right. We’ve seen this movie all too many times. We know how it ends.

augustlan's avatar

Wow, I didn’t even know this was going on. Perhaps I’m taking my ‘news diet’ too far? I’ll have to find out more before I can form an opinion, but thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Ron_C's avatar

If you think the French fight in Mali is bad, just think how bad you will feel when you learn that the U.S. is backing them up.

I think that the only real solution for an Islamist uprising is complete sterilization of the country. If you can’t stomach that then you better leave because it all starts to look like Afghanistan. The more Islamist radicals you kill the more they make. Most people will throw them out when they find out what it’s like to live in a fundamentalist theocracy.

That’s happening in Saudi Arabia, and Iran. If you want to secure the present governments, attack them with American Drones and soldiers.

rojo's avatar

As I understand it, it began back in the 60’s with the Tuareg wanting independence.
In the past ten years the “Legitimate” government used funds provided by the US, supposedly to combat terrorism, in its’ fight against them and supress the homegrown independence movement. This in turn led many Tuareg in the military and government to side with the Tuareg and join their cause. Many of these officers had been trained in the US. In addition there had been a large Tuareg presence in the Libyan army who left, with their arms, when that government fell. This was the catalyst for what is happening today.

When the government brought in troops from other African nations, the Tuareg partnered up with groups affiliated with Al Queda to fight back and in time these same groups, allied with the more fundamentalist Tuareg, usurped power from the Tuareg in the Northern part of the country that fell to the Tuareg.

Thus it appears that you have one convoluted mess on your hands and are now throwing Western military might into the mix.
You have a government that is unable to defend itself from internal conflict and does not have the backing of a large percentage of the country.
An ethnic tribal independence movement with a history of doing things its’ own way that now has much better military training and weapons but the very tribal nature of the group keeps it from operating as a single unit.
A Muslim fundamentalist movement, also well armed, trained and with actual combat experience taking advantage of a fractured country and the very looseknit tribal nature of the Tuareg.
The military might of assorted African nations brough in to combat the insurrection. Again, not a single solidifying unit but a cadre of many countries, none of whom have the needed skills to conduct desert warfare in a land where the defenders have resided for centuries.
And now the former colonial master, France, Initially trying to use bombing to supress the rebel groups. Now they are sending in ground troops.
This is going to get extremely messy.
In my opinion, the French need to bring in the Tuareg. They will have to grant them their own country once the fundamentalists are crushed, but this is going to be the only way they have a chance of defeating the terrorist groups with the least amount of retaliation in Europe.
The present government will have to contend themselves with what land they now hold with the guarantee that they will not lose any more of it.

rojo's avatar

Just found this on another thread (Thanks to @thorninmud for this information on Theory of Mind skills)
“This is serious business, because the child now sees that life is a negotiation between sometimes conflicting aims and desires, and that getting what one wants often requires understanding what others know and want.

Because developing theory of mind skills is a high-stakes game, we typically get pretty good pretty fast. The learning process is helped along by frequent exposure to situations where one has to balance one’s own interests with those of others. It’s also expedited by attentiveness; someone who’s constantly absorbed in their own inner world will be less adept at intuiting what’s going on with others.”

Evidently, Theory of Mind does not translate well into government circles.

antimatter's avatar

@rojo Good explanation African conflicts tend to last years in the old South Africa my cousins were forced to defend Namibia that was a South African colony between the 60 to the late 80’s against Angolan ANC military wing MK. Eighteen year old school boys returned back to South Africa as damaged goods, only to find out five years latter in 1990 that FW de Klerk sold South Africa out to the ANC, freeing Nelson Mandela and the rest is history. The point is very simple, the only way to resolve conflicts in Africa is to be done by Africans. De Klerk did not get any support from any country to cut a deal with the ANC, he did it himself, now everybody worships Nelson Mandela but nobody remembers the true man FW De Klerk who stopped a twenty year long conflict. So leave Africa and their problems to them they will sort out their own problems even it it takes 20 years. Let Mali sort out them selves.

rojo's avatar

So true. @antimatter. Those who start, finish and gain from armed conflict are not the ones who bleed and die in those conflicts.

I used to have a quote from Hermann Goering that was on the subject around somewhere, I will see if I can dig it up.

Here it is:

Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

― Hermann Goering

Linda_Owl's avatar

It is distressing @rojo , to see that our government (in a country that we identify as a Democracy) to be falling in-step with Hermann Goering…. but the actions of our government speak for themselves.

Ron_C's avatar

I see no value in military adventurism into the third world. They hate each other for ancient reasons but forces in Africa and the Middle East will band together to fight off an invader. Look at the fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suggest surrounding the troubled areas and let them kill each other and we’ll talk with the winners. I seen no reason for civilized men to die for uncivilized ones.

antimatter's avatar

@rojo I love it, nothing can be further than the truth!
@Linda_Owl I agree it is very distressing…I have seen things in Africa that will give you nightmares for the rest of your life!
The whole African continent is falling apart due to corruption, greed and dictatorship.
There’s some very bad things happening to the minority groups in South Africa as well, and the world does not even know about it and that is how it goes in Africa only when genocides take place than the world will react in shock or when it;s already too late than the UN want to help. Prevention is still better than cure. Some one will have control Africa.

mattbrowne's avatar

I’m so glad France intervened just in time.

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