Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 27, 2013

The Muddled UN Mali Mission

French and Chadian troops in Mali are mopping up "planet Mars", the desert mountain retreat, of the Jihadis who had taken over north Mali.

But the overall situation is far from resolved. The Mali state is broken with the current unelected government incapable of controlling the country. Three days ago some Jihadi suicide commando attacked in Gao hundreds of miles south of the current French main operation area.

The French claim they want to leave soon and asked for the UN to take over. But the new UN plan just released by the Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon is seriously muddled and seems to give the French an opening for further unsupervised meddling:

In a report to the 15-member Security Council, Ban recommended that the African force, known as AFISMA, become a U.N. peacekeeping force of some 11,200 troops and 1,440 police - once major combat ends.

To tackle Islamist extremists directly, Ban recommended that a so-called parallel force be created, which would work in close coordination with the U.N. mission.

Diplomats have said France is likely to provide troops for the smaller parallel force, which could be based in Mali or elsewhere in the West Africa region.

These would be two forces on the ground. One under UN command and bound to UN rules for peacekeeping. Another force would be under French command and only bound to self imposed French rules.

That is the same construct that, even after ten years, has shown no progress in Afghanistan. There the ISAF force under NATO command was supposed to be on a stabilization and support mission while a separated U.S. led "Operation Enduring Freedom" force was hunting for Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters under its own rules.

Politicians had hoped that the enemy would somehow distinguish between those two forces. That did of course not happen. Both forces were soon seen as aggressive occupiers. When the OEF forces under their loose rules created massacers the blame was put on ISAF. Such constructs of double forces and disunited command never make sense.

So why is the UN coming up with this nonsense? One would probably have to ask the UN Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (GPKO), Hervé Ladsous. He is the third French in a row to occupy that position and is said to get his orders directly from Paris. The construct he introduces for Mali is the same that led to a mess elsewhere:

The parallel UN and French force proposed for Mali by Ladsous' DPKO is reminiscent of what France obtained in Cote d'Ivoire, with the Force Licorne running -- in short shorts -- alongside the UN Mission which it also through DPKO controlled.

Recently Inner City Press asked Amnesty International's West Africa expert to assess the performance on human rights and accountability in Cote d'Ivoire, for crimes committed by the side the France favored and favors. AI called it appalling.

Why think it would be better in Mali?

Indeed.

Any military in this world can explain that unity of command and common rules of engagement are a precondition for a successful operation. To have two forces under two commands with two set of rules in one area of operations is guaranteed to result in chaos.

And why is a UN force needed at all. Why can't AFISMA, the common African force do the task under African rules and supervison?

Maybe China or Russia can object to the planned lunatic construct. If the French want to continue their colonial ambitions in Africa they should at least be pressed to do so under UN or, even better, African supervision.

 

 

Posted by b on March 27, 2013 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Comments

As the police always say, "follow the money"! Who is funding these salafists? Most likely someone in one or more of the despotic theocracies on the Arabian Peninsular. The sooner that nest of snakes is dealt with, the better.

Posted by: blowback | Mar 27, 2013 10:38:35 AM | 1

the Angry Arab has this, today.

From Eric: "In this eight-paragraph summary in Le Monde of recent events in the Central African Republic, we find out only in the third paragraph that the French state has asserted its sovereignty over the country by taking military control over Bangui M'Poko International Airport, and it is only in the fourth paragraph that any mention is made of the airport incident in which French troops opened fire on several cars carrying Indian and Chadian nationals, killing two and wounding nine...

Posted by: bevin | Mar 27, 2013 1:36:21 PM | 2

1. What makes you think it's not France, seeking a justification to "protect" the Tuareg in Niger and Mali? France would really like to regain control over those uranium deposits.

Posted by: scottindallas | Mar 28, 2013 2:21:38 AM | 3

b --

have you seen the latest Masterpiece by David NotAllThatBright of ISIS?:

https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324789504578380801062046108.html

comments?

Posted by: Clint | Mar 28, 2013 9:06:33 AM | 4

Oh also check:

On those fucking Ring Magnets used in speakers and DC motors:

https://lewis.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/6470/ring-magnets

Posted by: Clint | Mar 28, 2013 9:07:34 AM | 5

Remember what the french said, that this operation would not take long time, be quick, now, 3 months and theyre still there and now british and UN troops are needed, what a joke and what a bunch of liars!

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 28, 2013 11:19:50 AM | 6

https://mg.co.za/article/2013-03-28-00-central-african-republic-is-this-what-our-soldiers-died-for

13 South African soldiers were killed this week in Central African Republic, apparently defending the ruling ANC's diamond interests. Assisted by the French to escape.

Posted by: david | Mar 28, 2013 2:25:34 PM | 7

@b
Thanks for this narrative -- I've never seen it stated so well, and I'm an avid student of the affair.

That is the same construct that, even after ten years, has shown no progress in Afghanistan. There the ISAF force under NATO command was supposed to be on a stabilization and support mission while a separated U.S. led "Operation Enduring Freedom" force was hunting for Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters under its own rules.

Politicians had hoped that the enemy would somehow distinguish between those two forces. That did of course not happen. Both forces were soon seen as aggressive occupiers. When the OEF forces under their loose rules created massacers the blame was put on ISAF. Such constructs of double forces and disunited command never make sense.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 28, 2013 2:34:21 PM | 8

Regarding the comparison to Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), a point that is both pedantic and important: OEF refers to more than Afghanistan. It includes the whole of the endless Global War on Terror. Afghanistan (the "anti-terror" part) was just the biggest part of it.

According to the Pentagon's Casualty Status page(pdf) OEF includes: Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

So several countries in Africa are included in OEF and no doubt there will be more. We know that special forces troops are active in Burkina Faso, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and the Central African Republic in addition to those countries listed. And the United States is likely to play a more active military role in Mali, judging by Congressional and AFRICOM statements.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 28, 2013 3:06:10 PM | 9

20 years ago the same boyos were called reds, commies or pinkos, they are neither that nor islamic fundies just Tuareg wanting their society restored. The Tuareg economy was dependent on being able to travel freely along ancient trade routes established over thousands of years.
Since the colonel got butchered things have gotten much worse for the tuareg because Ghadaffi, himself a berber and therefore member of a related non-Arabic language group had gone to great lengths to inhibit anglo franco inroads into Tuareg lands.
Now the french are chasing after bauxite in northern Mali which is in the heart of Tuareg country.

So greedy satan puts out stories about fanatical fundies like broken record.

Posted by: debs is dead | Mar 31, 2013 6:03:44 AM | 10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V6GHnxEJjg

Posted by: debs is dead | Mar 31, 2013 6:05:57 AM | 11

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