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Category: ecowas

Mali Military Intervention Support Growing

Voice of America

BAMAKO — High-level delegations from the United Nations, West African bloc ECOWAS, and the African and European Unions meet with Malian leaders Friday to hammer out details for proposed military intervention to retake Mali’s north.

In Mali’s capital city of Bamako Men gather every morning at roadside newspaper vendors to debate the headlines, more specifically, what to do about the north dominates discussion.

The territory fell to al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants in April amid the chaos that followed a March 22 coup in the south.

As the crisis drags on, hopes for a negotiated solution appear to be fading.  What was once fierce resistance to the prospect of foreign troops in Mali appears to be waning.

Many in Bamako say they worry that Mali’s army is still too disorganized and poorly equipped to take back the region alone.

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Understanding Algeria’s Northern Mali Policy

Think Africa Press

After years of calling for greater military action in northern Mali, Algeria is now advocating a negotiated solution. Why the apparent change the heart?

Bamako, Mali: The whispers out of high-level meetings and shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks suggest an emerging consensus that some form of military intervention will be needed to retake northern Mali from the militant Islamist groups that now control the area. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is seekinga Chapter VII intervention mandate from the UN Security Council, and France has called for the immediate passage of such a resolution.

The United States, having maintained for months that democratic elections should precede any military action, has warmed to the idea of an African-led military intervention so long as it is “well planned”, “well resourced” and “has the support of all states in the region”, including those who are not ECOWAS members.

The last caveat is particularly crucial as Mali’s northern neighbour Algeria continues to call for a negotiated solution to the crisis. Aside from rejecting the idea of the creation of a new state, questions remain regarding the parameters of what Algeria considers an acceptable result in northern Mali. These questions are far from peripheral. Recent history and present imperatives suggest that Algeria will be active – either unilaterally or within an international framework – in shaping security outcomes in the region. As researcher Wolfram Lacher highlights, the challenge for the international community is to integrate Algeria into whatever mechanisms – political and military – that are used to put Mali back together.

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Mali Coalition Protests Proposed ECOWAS Troop Deployment

Voice of America

BAMAKO, MALI — Hundreds marched in the Malian capital of Bamako on Friday at Liberty Plaza to protest the proposed deployment of troops from West African bloc ECOWAS to Mali. The troops, if they come, would be used to retake northern Mali from al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants who seized control of the region in April.

The coalition COPAM, which backs the military junta that overthrew Mali’s government in March, organized the protest following an agreement earlier this week between Mali’s interim government and ECOWAS.

The agreement leaves open the possibility for ECOWAS troops to be based just outside the capital as part of a broader plan to help retake the country’s north. Northern Mali fell to Islamist militants in the chaos that followed the coup on March 22 in Bamako.

ECOWAS’ role in mediating the post-coup political crisis, as well as the prospect of foreign troops in the capital, has been unpopular among certain segments of the Malian public.

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