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Subject: Remember, Remember The Atrocities Of November
SYSOP    12/27/2012 5:02:46 AM
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BamakoBlues    Enough Problems: Goebbels Stalks Mali   12/27/2012 8:38:54 PM
Mali's main problem before March of this year was corruption: it affected the military as it did every other branch of the Government. Mali entered the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2004 at at number 77th in 2004 but had fallen to 118th by 2011. Corruption permeated all aspects of Malian society, including the Army: 43 senior officers in the drugs trade, arms sold to rebels, 78 generals (for 7000 troops) living in luxuryin Bamako while troops fought and died with their salaries unpaid, their bellies empty, vehicles and arms in disrepair and without fuel. Garrisons fell to the MNLA from January on and soldiers who surrendered to the MNLA had their throats cut. War widows received no survivors benefits berated the Minister of Defence on March 21 and when they didn't get satisfactory replies, the women led troops to continue discussions with President, who fled in disgrace, replaced by Capt. Amadou Sanogo sought out at home and asked to take over. Garrisons continued to fall, and the entire North eventually fell not because of the "coup" but because the woeful past treatment of the Army which made its loss inevitable. The US labelled this a "military coup" (taking 28 days to decide). All development assistance was cut off and an embargo was placed on the Malian Army. The cut in development assistance which constituted a major part of Malian Government operational funds and nearly all of its investment budget threw the country into a deep recession. Aid cut-off of aid to the Army limited its ability to restructure along US lines despite ridding its bloated top ranks of most generals. Arms already purchased were embargoed in Conakry, Guinea and only released in early December. Valuable time has been lost and now it will be difficult to stage an offensive to retake the North before the rains set in in June 2013. Contrary to the assertion at the end of the article, most Malians (64%) favored the March change in Government (Sidiki Guindo May 2012) and 51% blamed the previous regime itself for its own demise. 92% of Malians want to see postponed until the North is reconquered (Freidrich Ebert Foundation survey Dec. 2012). Donors continue their economic blockade of the country. Cuts in development assistance have led to massive unemployment and made a sieve out of Mali's only effective social safety net: the Malian extended family, which is being called on to support the mass influx of relatives from the North at the time when breadwinners in southern Mali are themselves unemployed. Malian priorities are on 1) reconquest and reincorporation of the North (including integration of minority ethnic groups) and 2) restarting the moribund economy through the resumption of aid. Donors worked hand in hand with politicians for the past 20 years. Politicians played the donors like a barroom piano to the tune of "the good ole democracy rag" with a chorus of sham elections and backroom deals dividing the spoils. When the music stopped, the donors pouted and refused to pay the sweepers to clean up the mess that they had helped make and complained that the cleaners had come too early and had spoiled the party. It is time that the United States, France, and other OECD donors faced up their own role in creating a system which exploited the many with impunity for the benefit of the few. They need to help the Army retake the North and the Government to develop it in a more equitable fashion, and to provide the assistance to redress the damage done by aid suspension and to put in place new control systems to keep corruption from reemerging. If held before past abuses of power are rectified, elections would only sew the seeds for future chaos, as the many have-nots clamor for their rights and the elites who ran the country in the past for their personal benefit attempt to reassert control.
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