Mali: New Transitional President threatens total war in the north

Interview in Timbuktu

Mali is a mess. Over 200,000 people have fled the north to escape fighting, drought and food shortages. The Tuaraeg rebels have declared northern Mali as an independent republic of Azawad. But no countries have recognized Azawad.

Even within the area there are rival rebels. Timbuktu is held by a radical Islamist groups who came down from the mountains where they had fought for years. They are keeping Tuareg rebels out of the city while they impose their own rule. See the enclosed video.

The elected president of Mali was overthrown in a coup by U.S. trained Captain Sanogo. However a group of neighboring countries ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) placed sanctions on the country and no doubt with pressure from the U.S. as well Sanogo agreed to turn over power to a civilian government.

Elected president Amadou Toure was toppled by Sanogo's group on March 22. He formally resigned his position over the weekend, paving the way for the former speaker of the house Diaconda Traore to take over. No one seems to worry about the fact that the former president has no doubt been forced to resign since he was under "'protection"" of coup forces. There is almost no discussion of the fact that a democratically elected leader was overthrown and the perpetrators are not punished at all. In fact one suspects that they probably received promises of key positions during the transition government. That is not talked about much either.

Traore the new transitional president spoke of wanting peace and negotiations and then went on to promise total war if negotiations did not work out. He said:"I am president of a country that loves peace,"

After claiming he preferred the peace option he then made impossible demands upon the rebels:"We will not hesitate to wage a total and relentless war" He insists that this will happen unless the rebels leave the cities occupied. He says that he would negotiate with any group but Al Qaeda. However Al Qaeda is almost a term of convenience for any radical Islamists that authorities decide ought to be targets in the war on terror.

The transitional government is expected to consist of about 20 members including some from the Sanogo group. No doubt this was promised as a carrot to entice the group to surrender power at least nominally.

Traore has been tasked with organizing elections to return Mali fully to civilian rule. However the north is under the control of Tuareg and Islamist rebels so elections could only be held in the south. No doubt elections will be postponed indefinitely until such time as the northern territories are recaptured assuming they are.

As Traore places solving the situation in the north as a priority he will no doubt need the support of the military. The U.S. already has troops in the country on standby. Do not be surprised if drone attacks happen in the future. Everything however is now going as it should according to the power brokers. ECOWAS has dropped sanctions and the U.S. can support the regime since it is on its way to civilian rule. Everything is now legitimate and on the up and up. For more see this article.

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