New Mali Leader Sworn in, Vows ‘Total War’

Insists Mali Will Never Negotiate With Tuaregs

His term is likely to be fairly short, as officials talk about holding elections soon, but Dioncounda Traore was sworn in today as Mali’s interim president, promising “to wage a total, relentless war.

Traore officially replaces Amadou Toure, who issued a resignation from an undisclosed hiding place last week, and junta leader Capt. Amadou Sanogo, who led military forces in seizing the country late last month.

Traore’s swearing in tentatively put the length of his term at 40 days, and he promised that he would never allow any negotiations with Azawad, the northern half of Mali that declared independence after crushing the Malian military.

Despite his promises of “total war” it is unclear that Mali will be able to do anything about the Azawad secession, as the Tuareg secessionists have decisively defeated the Mali military in every clash. Since last month’s coup was mostly a response to a failure to crush the Tuaregs, Traore will likely keep giving lip-service to reclaiming the territory, but tread lightly in attempting to actually reconquer it.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.