Saturday, October 27, 2012

Crisis in Mali

  • Mali is one of the few west African countries to have experienced democracy and relative social stability. Stability of the country got disturbed since early 2012.
  • Disturbances started from Northern Mali region as a aftermath of Libran Civil War. Capital and seat of govt. is in south Mali. Capital City is Bamako.
  • Ethnic Groups in Northern Mali
    • MLNA – Movement for the Liberation of Azawad is an ethnic group of Tuaregs, indigenous people of North Mali. They are secular group.
    • Ansar Dine & MOJWA - Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) are allies backed by Al Qaeda. They wanted to implement Sharia Law in North Africa.
    • Because of differences b/w the two they fought the Battle of Gao . They defeated MLNA and started implementing sharia law in Northern mali. In this process they destroyed World Heritage site — the Sidi Yahia mosque — and several ancient tombs at Timbuktu.
    • Regions of Mali 

  • Political Transition in Mali

  • Critical Analysis of Mali Crisis
    • Is Mali crisis heading for another Somalia like situation? International Community and especially AU should intervene as soon as possible.Al Qaeda is determined to make Mali their safe haven and hence rebel militant forces backed by them should be weeded out as soon as possible. Recently UNSC approved 3000 strong ECOWAS force intervention in Mali. 
    • New civilian govt. formed has not been successful in gaining confidence of the people. Mali Military is in disarray (Mar'12 coup 'de'tat) and hence careful thinking will be required by international community about what should be done post-intervention. Hence any rushed military intervention without first stabilizing the regime in the south could disturb the precarious northern dynamics and have disastrous consequences. Hence Mali must attempt to coordinate its actions with its neighbours.
    •  Algeria is one of the big countries neighbouring Mali, but it has till now maintained a hesitant approach to intervene in Mali’s internal crisis, suspecting a crisis in its own country as a spill over effect. However, Algeria’s sustained, cooperative, and sincere engagement in Mali is necessary. Algeria always wanted recognition as a regional leader. Algiers should employ its military and counter-terrorism capabilities and intervene in Mali crisis, and stablize Sahel-Sahara region.
  • India and Mali Relations
    • India-Mali are NAM members
    • India has an embassy in Mali and vice versa.
    • Mali President visited India in Jan 2012
    • Bilateral agreements
      • India extended Line of Credit for $100 Million to fund power transmission project connecting Bamako (Capital of Mali) with Sikasso.
      • Co-operation in Geology and Mineral Resources
    • Trade: Total $77 Million. Trade Surplus with Mali. India mainly imports raw cotton (Mali is second largest producer of cotton after Egypt in Africa) ; Mali imports electric transmission equipments, pharma/drugs, processed cotton fabrics.
Anecdote: While returning from office yesterday, I happened to notice that the Mali embassy is near my home in Safdarjung Enclave !! :)                     

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