Potential Hot Spots: Mali Awaits Foreign Invasion

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Items About Areas That Could Break Out Into War 

May 2, 2012: The army rebels who took over the government on March 22nd refuse to disband or halt interfering with the interim government. The rebel troops have threatened to use force to prevent the arrival of 3,000 ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) peacekeepers. The rebels are demanding new elections by the end of May, while ECOWAS wants to hold the elections next year, after the tribal rebels have been defeated in the thinly populated north. There, the Tuareg rebels and their al Qaeda allies have taken control of the major towns but many loyalists still control villages. Neighboring nations fear the rebel north could become a sanctuary for Islamic terrorists and criminal gangs. ECOWAS finds itself opposed by northern and southern rebels. The northern rebels just want to maintain their independence. The southern rebels want to defeat the northern rebels and establish the coup leaders as part of a new ruling class. ECOWAS wants to establish a fairly elected government in the north and south, something both sets of rebels oppose. ECOWAS is faced with the prospect of, in effect, invading Mali to put down both sets of rebels and attempt to reestablish a democratic government.

The northern rebels are allowing the UN to send relief supplies (food, fuel, and medical) in. While this aids the local population, it also reinforces rebel control of the north.

May 1, 2012: Troops of the Presidential Guard attempted to regain control of the capital from the rebel soldiers but were defeated after a night of shooting and shelling. Rebel troops captured the compounds where the Presidential Guard was based and scattered the loyalist troops.

April 23, 2012: The northern rebels (mainly the Tuareg MNLA) declared an end to military operations in the north. There are many towns and villages that the rebels have not even visited but apparently will in the future, if only to search out and kill, or capture, loyalists (to the southern government).

April 22, 2012: The Swiss aid worker kidnapped in the north last week was freed. Apparently the northern rebels decided that a confrontation with the West over this captive was not in their interests at this time. There have already been some protests up north against the rebels, but these events were quickly put down using gunfire.  

April 19, 2012: Alarmed at the continued activity of the rebel soldiers, president Toure fled to neighboring Senegal. The new interim government was formed, with rebel officers given three ministries (defense, interior security, and interior) out of 24. At the same time the rebels released the 22 officials they had arrested after agreeing to the formation of an interim government.

 

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