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 Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid