Western nations appear to be salivating at the prospect of an invasion of Mali, with officials playing up the “importance” of attacking the poorest half of one of the world’s poorest countries to ensure the rule of the junta-backed interim regime.
Planners, led primarily by the US and France, say they envision about 4,000 troops invading northern Mali, most of them from African nations but funded by Western countries, and forcing the Ansar Dine rebels into the desert for a protracted battle of attrition.
To the extent the regime ever really had control over the northern half of Mali, it was lost earlier this year after Tuareg secessionists, armed with weapons looted from the NATO war in Libya, routed them. The Tuaregs were themselves ousted by Ansar Dine, which is calling for the creation of a theocratic state in the region.
But while France and the US are spinning this as an al-Qaeda safe haven, Ansar Dine is vying to start negotiations, insisting they reject terrorism and are willing to cut all ties with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Though these talks are gaining some currency in places like Algeria and Burkina Faso, they seem very much beside the point, as once the major NATO member nations get it in their head that a war is “necessary” there doesn’t appear to be anything that can convince them otherwise.
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