Mali Coup Leader a US-Trained Military Officer

Second straight Malian coup with an American training link

In another embarrassment for US training programs for international forces, this week’s coup in Mali found itself linked to the program. Col. Golta, the new dictator of Mali, graduated from US training courses.

That’s a problem for the US,. and photos of Golta were featured heavily on US military sites regarding the training operations, The military has so far avoided comment on the matter, though some media are reporting that the photographs were disappearing from the sites when the news started to break.

It looks bad, but also isn’t shocking. Mali’s last coup, in 2012, saw the exact same thing, with Captain Amadou Sanogo having been through six training missions with the US before the coup.

The number of coup leaders, war criminals, and general bad actors in the training program has raised concerns that the Pentagon is too heavily focused on efficiency and fostering relationships with Western military bureaucracies, without focus enough on respect for civilian governance and democracies.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.