News / Africa

Regional Response to Mali Could Lead to Pitfalls

Regional Response to Mali Could Lead to Pitfallsi
X
January 22, 2013 3:50 PM
With French troops driving back Islamist rebels in northern Mali, West African forces are expected to step in and help secure the country for new elections. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports this regional response has important implications for international efforts to fight terrorism.

Regional Response to Mali Could Lead to Pitfalls

With French troops driving back Islamist rebels in northern Mali, West African forces are expected to step in and help secure the country for new elections. This regional response has important implications for international efforts to fight terrorism.

French troops advancing against Islamist militants in Mali say their fight is not over until the country is reunited and al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists are driven from the north. French President Francois Hollande says it is a campaign that requires the active support of international allies.

"Our objective was to stop the terrorist offensive. That is done. It was to allow Malians to win back cities that had been occupied by terrorists. That is being done now. And then the objective is to allow an international force to take over to allow Mali to get back its territorial integrity, and we know that it will take some more time," said Hollande.

ECOWAS gears up

Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States - or ECOWAS - are moving to get that force going.

Africa specialist Jennifer Cooke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said it is important to move quickly.

"This looks like it may be a longer-fought battle just pushing the militants back from their advance southward by the French. The ECOWAS troops will take some time to get up and deployed into northern Mali," said Cooke.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there is strong international support for that deployment.

"These are some of the most remote places on the planet, very hard to get to, difficult to have much intelligence from. So there is going to be lot of work that has to go into our efforts," said Clinton.

Nigeria takes lead

Nigerian troops already are arriving in Mali. Nigeria's leadership of the West African force comes as the government in Abuja faces its own violence by Islamist militants from a group known as Boko Haram.

Charles Dokubo of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs said that confronting extremists in Mali is part of Nigeria's efforts to stop the expansion of a broader terrorist network.

"If this threat is not fully contained from there, then eventually they'll have to pay a bigger price for dealing with intervention in the country if it spreads to Nigeria and you have a mixture of what we have in Nigeria, and the one that's coming from outside," said Dokubo.

But with Nigerian troops criticized by human rights groups for attacking civilians while fighting against Boko Haram, analyst Cooke said al-Qaida in Mali has an opening to incite Nigerians against their own military.

"Deploying against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the associated groups up there opens them up to vulnerabilities at home, as it does for all the other ECOWAS troops getting involved," said Cooke.

U.S. officials expect that West African troops in Mali supporting the French offensive will operate much like the African force in Somalia, where Western allies provide intelligence, logistics, and training to regional soldiers fighting alongside the national army to restore order.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sjonnie van der kist from: amsterdam holland
January 25, 2013 6:31 AM
the rainy season will be there in 1 month, ecowas will get bogged down if they arrive at all.
and to put a nigerian english speaking general in charge in a french speaking country is asking for trouble.
but at least the generals will get money to put on their swiss bank accounts.


by: beancube2010 from: Seattle WA
January 23, 2013 11:19 PM
We shouldn't allow war contracts over there. We shouldn't pay for those French tycoons.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid