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Madness in Mali
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Madness in Mali:

 151 Best Of, Fri, 29th Jun '12 8:51:09 AM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
More articles: List of militaries by number of personnel, level of military equipment (announced).

Countries like Niger, Mali and Mauritania look like small fries on those lists.

(I also updated my previous post.)

edited 29th Jun '12 8:52:40 AM by BestOf

Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
 152 FF Shinra, Fri, 29th Jun '12 10:54:53 AM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
@Best Of - Algeria has the military power necessary to defeating Ansar Dine, as well as the motivation (uber-secular militarist government, also fearful of territorial destabilization due to the Tuareg factor).

ETA - Short of that though, the ECOWAS countries together, with some monetary and equipment backing from the West, could take them on.

edited 29th Jun '12 10:55:45 AM by FFShinra

Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 153 FF Shinra, Sat, 30th Jun '12 4:43:57 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
So it seems once the MNLA were pushed out by Ansar Dine, the latter began destroying the ancient (and, ironically, Muslim) tombs and monuments of Timbuktu.
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 154 Nohbody, Sat, 30th Jun '12 4:49:04 PM from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
Just zis guy
^ But which sect of Islam? Neither Sunni nor Shiite Muslims have, traditionally, been all that fond of one another.

(I honestly don't know the breakdown of the region in that regard. It's not exactly at the top of my "pay attention to" list.)
Yeah. Fucking Fundamentalists are destroying Timbuktu now. Holy fucking shit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E9UBO6-s10&feature=g-all-u

First the Wahhabist destruction of all manner of shit in Saudi Arabia (they destroyed what many consider to be the Biblical Eve) Then those Buddhist temples in Afghanistan, and now THIS SHIT?

At least Christian fundementalists don't destroy old Shrines and historical evidence and cultural heritage sites.......anymore at least tongue

^ But which sect of Islam? Neither Sunni nor Shiite Muslims have, traditionally, been all that fond of one another.

Likely Sunni, as I think the main Shi'ite centers are Iran and southern Iraq and Afghanistan.

edited 1st Jul '12 7:22:07 PM by cyberpunkrebellion

 
Lord of Castamere
...Sad. Really depressing. Heartbreaking to see those places being destroyed.
Instead, I have learned a horrible truth of existence...some stories have no meaning.
 157 Best Of, Sun, 1st Jul '12 7:25:20 PM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
According to the al-Jazeera video you linked, the government of Mali is urging the international community to take steps to stop the destruction of these historic sites.

So they want drone strikes, basically.
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
 158 FF Shinra, Mon, 2nd Jul '12 3:32:34 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
Drone strikes are the best way in this case honestly. Sparse region, easily identifiable militia, not much place to hide....
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 159 Some Sort Of Troper, Tue, 3rd Jul '12 2:12:47 AM Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, she is imaginary
...no way to tell the different Tuareg factions apart unless they're standing next to a priceless ancient artifact...
Don't just tell us the facts; tell us the memes, tell us the archetypes, tell us the catchy ideas and symbolic roles that get planted in pe
 160 JHM, Tue, 3rd Jul '12 7:17:53 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
I really hope the MNLA regains the upper hand in the north, however unlikely that is. This situation is getting really scary and horrible really fast.

Also, to clarify: The tombs are those of Sufi saints, and representative of a very different sect from the crazy Islamists (who are Wahhabi Sunnis). Hence, the iconoclasm.

edited 3rd Jul '12 7:27:01 AM by JHM

 161 Earl of Sandvich, Tue, 3rd Jul '12 11:56:03 PM from the Palouse Relationship Status: Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
That's Detective Gumshoe to you, pal!
As if THAT'S not enough, it seems that the Islamists are planting mines around the town of Gao.

edited 3rd Jul '12 11:56:50 PM by EarlOfSandvich

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betaalpha
Another small update from the BBC: From Our Own Correspondent article. A comparison with the Timbuktu of three years ago and phone calls with people still there. Timbuktu is half empty and the Islamists are still looting (oh, sorry, unblaspheming or whatever) ancient shrines.

Preparations for driving the Islamists out are continuing. I think it needs to be headed by Muslims because Ansar Dine and co are absolutely going to hide in and shoot from (sorry, defend) mosques and other holy places. All the same, they'll have little cover from drone strikes when they're not using fellow Muslims and religious buildings as shields.

Here's a good updating article.
In Kidal, youth and women tired of Ansar al-Din’s social restrictions gathered to display their opposition to the movement with slogans, public smoking in defiance of the ban on tobacco use, and stone-throwing by the women, who removed their Islamist-decreed veils after Ansar al-Din elements retreated in damaged vehicles
Hmmm, now where's that link... Oh yes, here it is.

edited 5th Jul '12 4:53:14 PM by betaalpha

 163 FF Shinra, Fri, 6th Jul '12 5:07:44 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
Anything about the MNLA or do they no longer exist or something?
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
betaalpha
Last thing I heard from the MNLA was that they were promising to retake Gao shortly after losing it. According to Wikipedia they still control most of the towns though they lost the most significant ones. It's possible that they could take down Ansar Dine and co but fear that they'll be attacked by ECOWAS afterwards while they're weak. Alternatively maybe they can't persuade their fighters to stop defending the towns they come from to retake the big places. But their inaction is making them seem very irrelevant.

 165 De Marquis, Mon, 9th Jul '12 6:55:55 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
This is a very interesting article that summarizes the situation in Mali. Apparently the Islamists were welcomed by locals because the Tuareg MNLA had been brutalizing people. Now residents of the towns controlled by the Islamists just want the fighting to stop.

From the article: "...Indeed, success in Gao for the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) - an organization involved in bombings, smuggling and kidnappings in Algeria - and Ansar al-Dine, founded by the Tuareg Islamist and former MNLA commander Iyad Ag Ghali, did not just come militarily. It also came through through the fact that the Islamists accurately read street protests over the murder of a local official and their escalation against the MNLA occupation and Tuareg separatism in general. France24 reports that MUJWA and Ansar al-Dine quickly took up places alongside the demonstrators A spokesman for Ansar al-Dine claims that the Islamists, who do count Tuaregs among their numbers, "only" moved against the MNLA in order to prevent them from further brutalizing the city's residents..."

Later in the same article: "...But as the shock of its assault wore out over Mali's geographic space and ethnic divisions, the Tuareg's position deteriorated (they account for no more than a fifth of Mali's total population, and many have since moved to the cities). The MNLA has been hurting for manpower and finances. Additionally, the several-thousand strong MNLA did not represent all Tuaregs. Splits within the movement among participating Tuareg tribes, such as the Kel Adagh, had weakened the separatists before the falling out with Ansar al-Dine occurred in Timbuktu..."

So, as disgusting as the recent actions by the Islamists may be, there appear to be logical reasons why they managed to take over.

edited 9th Jul '12 6:58:09 PM by DeMarquis

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
betaalpha
The MNLA rebels drop their claim for independence - not much of a surprise given the members still in Mali appear to be fighting just to survive against Ansar Dine.

I'd like to know how powerful and relevant the MNLA still are (opinion seems to be 'not very' to both those). The Tuareg Rebellion Wikipedia page still reckons they control most towns but not the three main ones (Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu). I wonder how true that is - maybe it is if those are Tuareg-majority places and very self-sufficient.

 167 FF Shinra, Tue, 17th Jul '12 12:59:00 AM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
[up] Being in the middle of a vast desert would make the self-sufficient claim a given, no?

So they dropped the claim for independance? Damn they must really be kicking themselves for getting in bed with the Islamists. Anyone hear anything on ECOWAS in the last couple of days?
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 169 FF Shinra, Wed, 26th Sep '12 5:09:59 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
Some more movement. The French President is now calling for the UNSC to approve ECOWAS military intervention.

[1]

The new regime in Bamako seems to still be paranoid ECOWAS will overthrow them too though from what I can discern from the behavior.
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 170 Caissas Death Angel, Sat, 13th Oct '12 8:59:39 AM from Dumfries, SW Scotland Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
House Lewis: Sanity is Relative
[up]The UN has now approved said intervention.
My name is Addy. Please call me that instead of my username.
 171 Nick The Swing, Sat, 13th Oct '12 2:39:01 PM from Ya really wanna know? Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
BFS Enthusiast
...How many sides are there now? Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if, by the end of this, there were no less than six sides all trying to get their hands on governance of Mali.

Which begs the question; WHY? Why do they want Mali?

 172 Best Of, Sat, 13th Oct '12 2:47:04 PM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
Well I sort of hope that at least the UN has a benevolent motive - namely, to stop Northern Mali from becoming a graveyard or receding into a middle age theocracy. An AU intervention with UN support might be the only way to stop the Islamists from ruining the country, though whether the AU can actually do anything in Mali is very much in doubt, especially when you look at previous and current AU operations like the one in Somalia. (To be fair, though, there has been some progress in Somalia recently.)
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
 173 FF Shinra, Mon, 15th Oct '12 10:02:29 AM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
[up][up]

  • The military regime of Bamako
  • The supporters of the former democratic regime (most of these guys have fled Mali due either to the coup or the fighting up north, so I doubt they have much influence anymore if they ever did)
  • Tuareg nationalists (also not much of a factor anymore, but they're still there at least)
  • Islamists
  • AU/UN

So you're only off by one....

edited 15th Oct '12 10:20:57 AM by FFShinra

Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 174 Deviant Braeburn, Mon, 3rd Dec '12 5:23:11 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
US military: Intervention in Mali now would fail

Niger's President Backs Mali Intervention
Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

 175 FF Shinra, Tue, 4th Dec '12 11:18:06 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
Honestly, the whole problem with this taking so long seems to be Bamako itself. Considering they're barely holding themselves together, I'm almost inclined that the powers that be should just say fuck em', work with the Tuareg, clear it out, and let there be a non-Islamist Azawad.
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
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