Even as the US and its allies in Europe and Africa float ideas for a military intervention in Mali, such a war would have a high humanitarian cost, according to the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Following the Libya war, Mali was destabilized and subsequently experienced an increase in Islamist militancy and an attempt at succession in the north. Naturally, Washington’s response to this problem prompted by Western military intervention has been to advocate further intervention.
Plans for a military intervention to recapture northern Mali have already been written up by experts on behalf of the US, Europe, and the African nations surrounding Mali.
“There is a lot of talk how to ‘liberate’ the north, how to reconquer the north, but there is little consideration of what the humanitarian impact of whatever scenario would be,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said on Thursday.
“It remains a vulnerable region in terms of food security anyway, it has always been. But compounded with the insecurity of the politics and military planning, this becomes particularly dire and particularly sensitive,” he said.
Access for aid workers is already precarious in the north, where 500,000 people – half the remaining population – depend on foreign aid, ICRC President Peter Maurer said.
Military experts from Africa, the United Nations and Europe have drafted plans to recapture northern Mali, which fell to rebels in March after a coup in the capital Bamako led to a power vaccum.
Maurer urged foreign leaders to bear the humanitarian cost in mind as they planned action.