Mali Collapse: Libyan Blowback Edition
The West African nation of Mali is on the verge of collapse following a military coup in late March that ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré. A coup, on its own, of course, is not a sufficient condition for the collapse of a country. But there is also an Islamist insurgency in Mali. The AFP reports:
Armed Islamists stormed the Algerian consulate in northeastern Mali and abducted seven diplomats Thursday amid fears Al Qaeda-linked fighters are turning the country into a rogue state and fuelling a humanitarian crisis.
USAID, which has been involved in Mali since 1961, had this to say about the recent democracy's prospects, which as of post time is still on their site:
Since holding its first democratic election in 1992, Mali has become one of the most enlightened democracies in Africa. In 2012, Mali is expected to hold its fifth generation of presidential and legislative elections.
The military coup in Mali came just a month before the presidential election scheduled for April 29. President Touré was not seeking re-election.
Where did the Tuareg rebels overrunning Mali suddenly come from? Libya. The ethnically Berber fighters were used by Colonel Moammar Khadafi during his 40+ year rule in Libya, and were displaced after the Western-backed insurgency toppled Khadafi's government. The Tuareg rebels had to travel the Saharan expanse across Algeria to get to Mali, where they are now declaring independence.
Algeria's state press agency, meanwhile, reports that General Carter Ham, head of Africacom and Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson visited top Algerian officials Wednesday to talk about counter-terrorism on the African continent.
The dispersal of Libyan weaponry and rebels has long been a concern so Mali's young democracy is unlikely to be the only victim in the aftermath of the Libya intervention.