Libya’s Mess Bleeds Over into Mali

Daniel Larison has an article on the mess in Libya one year later:

But the Libyan war’s worst impact may have occurred outside of Libya. The neighboring country of Mali, which also happens to support U.S. counter-terrorist efforts in western Africa, has been roiled by a new Tuareg insurgency fueled by the influx of men and weapons after Gadhafi’s defeat, providing the Tuareg rebels with much more sophisticated weaponry than they had before. This new upheaval benefits al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), and the Tuareg uprising threatens the territorial integrity of Mali. The rebellion has also displaced nearly 200,000 civilians in a region that is already at risk of famine, and refugees from Mali are beginning to strain local resources in Niger, where most of them have fled. “Success” in Libya is creating a political and humanitarian disaster in Mali and Niger.

The coup has finally gone down, and president Toure is currently in hiding:

Touré’s successor government, the Comité national pour le redressement de la démocratie et la restauration de la démocratie et la restauration de l’état (CNRDRE), led by army captain Amadou Sango, has dissolved state institutions, suspended the constitution, reportedly arrested several ministers, taken over the state broadcaster, and announced a curfew.

CNRDRE says it has brought an end to “an incompetent regime” and singled out Touré’s “incapacity to manage the crisis in the north of the country. and to fight terrorism”.

Some portion of the Malian army overthrew the government and suspended the constitution this morning in response to their government’s inadequate armament of the army in the battles against the Tamashek separatists rebels returning from yep, you guessed it, Libya. The Tuareg coming back from Libya are extremely well armed, very well trained, and have a lot of Gaddafi’s money. They are seeking autonomy for the Azawad region, and have been doing that (peaceably and otherwise) for quite awhile, and this time it looks like they are a serious threat to whatever is left of the Malian government after today. There is no telling where this situation is going. Ban Ki Moon, failure that he is, has already called for everyone to put down their weapons, which is always a good sign.

At the moment there are close to 100,000 refugees of the rebellion straining food stores in surrounding nations, including Senegal and Niger, the former of which has already been facing a constitutional crisis because of their idiotic president. Many of the aid organizations were dismayed by the news from Bamako, for obvious reasons.

Glenn Greenwald on perception of Libya in the US:

Like “Osama bin Laden,” “Libya” now has virtually no meaning in our political discourse other than its use as shorthand by Democrats to prove President Obama’s Toughness and Foreign Policy skill, and its use by advocates of intervention in Syria to establish the nobility of humanitarian wars.

Those feeling that good old White Man’s Burden when it came to African affairs were not interested in the niceties of the Maghreb’s ethnic makeup, and instead patted themselves on the back for the assassination of Gaddafi. There’s a direct line between the fall of the Malian government and NATO’s ill thought out invasion of Libya. I seem to remember another war where we forgot to give the army new jobs after the fall of their government, which resulted in heavily armed rebels doing horrible things. Someone will have to remind me what war that is, there are just so many to remember!

How many times did I have to say, “I don’t think we understand all the dimensions of this civil war”? Obviously not enough. But Democrat and Republican Imperialists can’t get enough.

As for Libya, it’s going to be a real hot summer. The militias that overthrew Gaddafi are refusing to disarm. 

The most powerful militias in the western cities of Zintan and Misrata have refused the government’s calls to disarm. These militias believe that remaining armed allows them to retain political influence in the new order that they fought to create.

Amnesty International has documentednumerous cases of abuse and torture of detainees by local militias, and there have been many reports of reprisals against civilians living in perceived pro-Gadhafi areas. Militia rule is made possible by the weakness of the NTC, which never had real control over armed rebel forces during the war, and still does not. Plus, the council’s opacity and corruption have been rapidly de-legitimizing it in the eyes of Libyans.

When will we learn?


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