Mali Crisis: Nigeria and other West African Nations to Support France against Islamists. By Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker


It is reported that Nigeria will now send 900 military troops to Mali in order to help this nation overcome the Islamist terrorist threat. Nigeria is a very powerful nation when it comes to regional stability and aiding various situations. However, Nigeria also faces a growing Islamist terrorist threat from within because Islamists often kill Christians, Muslims who oppose their militant mindset and anyone to do with the government. Therefore, for Nigeria it is clear that the crisis in Mali can be felt very seriously because of internal issues.
Military leaders from West Africa met in the capital of Mali in order to discuss military tactics and to solve many areas related to logistics, planning, coordination and other essential areas. Within Nigeria the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is a serious issue and clearly political leaders in this country fear more instability throughout the region. After all, a powerful network of mass instability will only lead to more ties between various Islamist factions.
Ali Coulibaly, African Integration Minister of the Ivory Coast, stated strongly that “Things are accelerating … The re-conquest of the north has already begun.” In a sense the word “re-conquest” is extremely fitting because Islamists care little for the indigenous culture of Mali. This can be seen by their wanton destruction of Sufi shrines and other precious black African Mali Islamic architecture.
West African nations while supporting France against terrorism must also question the government based in Paris. This applies to the destabilization of Libya and the ongoing pressure being put on secular Syria. After all, Nigeria is acting consistently with regards to challenging the forces of Boko Haram at home and then helping Mali during its hour of need. Yet, the nation of France is continuing to support Islamist factions against the government of Syria. Therefore, regional nations in West Africa must stress that this dual approach isn’t warranted under any condition.
Likewise, regional nations in West Africa need to stress openly that America, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and other nations, have all “opened a can of worms in Libya.” After all, after the demise of Gaddafi it is clear that several vacuums have been filled in northern Mali which emanate from this crisis. Similarly, prior to the destabilization of Libya it is clear that the central authority was already very lose but it could keep Islamist terrorists in check. However, since the fall of Gaddafi you have ongoing chaos, Islamists destroying Sufi shrines, mass racism against black Africans, various militias controlling their own special areas and a host of other brutal realities.
Major-General Shehu Abdulkadir of Nigeria will know full well about the reasons behind regional instability. Therefore, it is up to this military leader to coordinate various military personnel from different nations in order to tackle the Islamist terrorist threat in Mali. Many Malians began to openly celebrate when it was announced that regional nations and France would step up to the plate and challenge the Islamist threat openly.
The military forces from various nations have been sanctioned under resolution 2085 of the UN Security Council. Currently, it is not known about the full extent of the military operation because sadly Mali is hindered by genuine internal political issues. Also, the vastness of Mali and the reality that Islamists can roam freely between various nations is also a major issue. Likewise, the ongoing instability in Libya may feel certain ripples emanating from the current situation in Mali – just like the brutal ripples and current reality in Libya were felt in Mali.
Government forces in Bamako are weak and clearly the institutions in this nation couldn’t prevent the chaos which engulfed the north of this country. It would appear that the intervention of France will take much longer than the original statements which were announced. However, once a nation starts to openly challenge a potent threat then clearly it is essential that limited short-term goals are taken over by real long-term objectives. After all, the Islamist threat can often melt away into the hinterland when challenged openly but then re-emerge once more just like in Afghanistan and Somalia, to name but just two nations.
Colonel Mohammed Yerima of Nigeria stated that “The president approved the deployment of a battalion, and in the next 24 hours a company of the battalion will be deployed.” However, until major logistics are sorted out it is clear that the air power of France will play a very important role and the same applies to other military forces from this nation.
General Soumaila Bakayoko from the Ivory Coast stated “We are here today to speak essentially about the engagement alongside our Malian brothers in arms, to liberate the north of Mali.” It is hoped that this can be achieved because many regional nations are supporting the military option. This applies to Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
France must also refocus its policies and see that the Libya debacle unleashed powerful forces in this nation which in turn destabilized Mali. Similarly, political leaders in France need to be challenged by their dual approach towards terrorism. After all, on the one hand France is fighting Islamist terrorist networks in Mali but on the other hand this nation is in league with many other countries which are destabilizing Syria. The upshot of the destabilization of Syria is that the very same terrorists in Mali are gaining ground and committing many daily massacres. Therefore, France needs to take a long look in the mirror and see this dual approach for what it is. In the meantime, regional African nations are helping Mali to overcome the real menace of Islamism which threatens to destroy indigenous black African Mali Islam and the culture of this nation.

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