News / Africa

Mali on Brink of Becoming a Terrorist Safe Haven

Mali on Brink of Becoming a Terrorist Safe Haveni
X
December 24, 2012 6:08 PM
African and world leaders say they will not let Mali become a terrorist safe haven, a failed state, a so-called "Afghanistan" in the Sahel. The U.N. Security Council has backed a regional military deployment to Mali next year to deal with an ongoing political crisis in the capital and help the Malian army retake the north from Islamist militants. Will 2013 be the year that Mali pulls back from the brink? If so, at what cost? VOA West Africa correspondent Anne Look has this report.

Mali_Yearender_WEB-fixed-x264-Platform_YTHDFull

Anne Look
African and world leaders say they will not let Mali become a terrorist safe haven, a failed state, a so-called "Afghanistan" in the Sahel. The U.N. Security Council has backed a regional military deployment to Mali next year to deal with an ongoing political crisis in the capital and help the Malian army retake the north from Islamist militants. Will 2013 be the year that Mali pulls back from the brink?  If so, at what cost?

2012 was the year that armed men seized control of Mali.  And their grip looks stronger than ever -- both in the north and the south.
 
Analysts say a military junta pulls the strings in the capital, Bamako.  The soldiers, who mutinied and then overthrew the elected president on March 22, closed the year by forcing out the interim prime minister and his government in December.
 
Meanwhile, al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants have controlled the northern two-thirds of the country since April.  Their brutal application of Sharia law has included stonings and amputations.  Nearly half a million people have fled.  That number could swell by tens, or even hundreds, of thousands during expected fighting next year.
 
African leaders now have U.N. backing for a phased military intervention to send in 3,300 regional troops to retrain and ultimately fight alongside the Malian army.
 
African Union ambassador Antonio Tete told the U.N. Security Council the deployment is an integral part of a three-track plan that includes negotiations and reinforcing the political transition in Bamako.
 
"Any perception of a lack of decisiveness on any of these tracks may send the wrong message to the terrorist and criminal networks, as well as to the armed groups that are not committed to a negotiated solution, while prolonging the suffering of the civilian population and increasing the threat to regional and international peace and security," Tete said.
 
Impatience is growing in Mali. Ethnic northern militias are training near the front lines.  Analysts say the fight to retake the north could descend into civil war and bloody reprisals.
 
Experts warn that the Malian army is not ready.
 
The U.N. resolution did not set a timeline for the military offensive. U.N. Special Representative to the Sahel, Romano Prodi, has said it's not possible before September 2013.
 
"Any military effort in Mali must be undertaken after careful analysis and thorough preparation and that these efforts should be part of an agreed political process that tackles the roots of the conflic," Prodi said.
 
International Crisis Group West Africa Director, Gilles Yabi, said while months of preparation are needed, it's impossible to know the risk of waiting.
 
"Will this time give the armed groups -- some of them known terrorists linked to al-Qaida -- more time to recruit and to train people to carry out attacks abroad?  Does that mean we should move faster?  That's hard to say, but urgency should not justify hasty decisions.  Time invested now in negotiations could isolate the hardline terrorists and lead to an intervention strategy that minimizes the risk to civilians," Gilles said.
 
Foreign Jihadists in northern Mali have threatened terrorist attacks in countries contributing troops.  Attempts to oust the Islamists could also push fighters, and fighting, into neighboring countries.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid