Thursday, August 09, 2012

‘haphazard citizen militias opposing radical Islamist forces have few resources but, unlike the regular Malian army, have a fierce will to undo the conquest of northern Mali.’, writes Adam Nossiter in the New York Times on the 7th of August. Read more:

(Interestingly, and just by the by, I once had a glamorous and wine- flowing lunch with this very Adam Nossiter in New Orleans together with my old pal Cressida Bell! . This was the only time we met. I knew his father better, the delightful late Bud Nossiter who wrote for the Washingon Post. I may now try to contact Adam, since I would like to challenge him on the following, although I am also pleased to read the information about the enthusiasm of the young volunteers in his overall excellent article):

He implies that the Malian troops are useless and unwilling to go north to fight- this is not necessarily the case.
The Malian army has had their arms ties for various reasons- they are under equipped, and cannot take on the North on their own. This is in large part due to the fact that ATT's government and his generals siphoned away large funds which ostensibly went into equipping the Malian Army, when in fact it found its way into the generals' pockets.

The present interim government has found some funds and have bought arms with which to equip the army to liberate the north, but these arms are stuck in the ports of Conakry and Dakar for political reasons. The ECOWAS are not letting them through. How does Mr. Adam Nossiter expect the Malian Army to be able to go north under such conditions?

The Malian army's morale is low, certainly. But that may also have something to do with the fact that the international community are painting them as some sort of renegade torturers, and insisting on describing Mali as if it is still led by Sanogo's Junta. I think this is an unfair description of the state of affairs. The ex-junta have gone a long way to conform to the conditions imposed on them by their neighbouring countries and by the international community in order to put in place a legitimate interim government.

Amnesty International has sent a delegation here which has investigated the events of last April when an unsuccessful Counter Coup was staged by the Ancien Regime under the leadership of the Red Berets- the presidential guard, loyal to ATT- with reinforcements from hired assassins from Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. Certain elements who took part have been reported missing after this event and there have been incidents of torture reported. However regrettable this is, I believe that a Coup d'Etat or an attempted Coup d'Etat are extraordinary events that cannot be judged with the yardstick of normality. They are acts of war. If you are going to stage a Coup d'Etat, or if you are paid by someone to take part as a hired assassin or mercenary you know what you are doing and you know that you may lose your life. To then start crying about mistreatment seems laughable to me.

Meanwhile, Mali has been trying to get Amnesty International to investigate the brutal murder of nearly a hundred unarmed soldiers by the MNLA at Aguel Hok last January. Their demands have fallen of totally deaf ears. Noone is interested in hearing about unarmed Malian soldiers getting their throats slit!


Blogger Susan said...

I am not online so much at present, though I think of you always when I see reports from Mali, and it's so useful to get your corrective reports as well. There is another article by Nossiter today in the New York Times, as I'm sure you'll see.

Meanwhile, I looked back to see that your MaliMali shop is up and running. The site and the wares displayed are beautiful. I wish you much success with that, and I have bookmarked it for future reference as well.

Warm regards.

2:48 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Susan,
how good to hear from you!
I will check on today's New York Times.
Thank you for your support as always!

7:32 PM  

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