Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Did IBK have a point?

In his speech at the signing of the peace accord in Bamako on 15 May  IBK more or less accused the UN, the peace negotiators and  international opinion of partiality towards the CMA (which includes the MNLA) . This went down very badly with Hervé Ladsous , the UN boss in Mali. But really, what is going on is bizarre it can’t be denied: On the 27th of April the northern city of Menaka was retaken from the MNLA amid much jubilation from the population by General Gamou’s GATIA, the militia which forms part of the government friendly Plate-forme. (The Malian regular army has its  hands tied through the cease-fire agreement brokered in Algiers, but  meanwhile the CMA and the GATIA are  involved in daily skirmishes.) The talks have now started once more in Algiers to try and reach a settlement which will make the CMA able to sign the deal. But, we are told that the there is a blockage around the question of Menaka. The GATI has been asked to withdraw from the city by the UN and the mediators, which they have categorically refused to do, unless they are are replaced by the Malian Army.  This would seem to me to be not an unreasonable request: Mali is after all still a sovereign nation, and Menaka has once more passed into Malian  control.   But it is unacceptable to the CMA.
 This prompted the following comment in Malijet by someone who calls themselves Zougloufi:

 ‘It is quite bizarre that the question of the retreat from Menaka by the GATIA constitutes a blockage in the peace process, and even more bizarre is the UN’s insistence that GATIA should withdraw. Let us remember that when the armed bandits took control of Menaka the UN did nothing and went as far as to contain the Malian army from action. Now, when the town has passed from one hand to the other, why are they insisting on wanting to ‘assure its security’? This clearly put in doubt its partiality.’

And really, he seems to have a point. It is quite difficult to understand why the troops loyal to a sovereign nation should have to give up Menaka, a town regained from the rebels. And if they have to give up Menaka, why should the rebel groups be allowed to stay in the localities which they occupy?


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