Mali conflict exposes flaws in Western actions

The current debacle in Mali is demonstrating once again how little Western governments learn from the past.

Again the West’s foreign policy has resulted in disaster. How long will it take for the U.S. Government to learn that you cannot simply go around bombing and killing all over the world without consequences?

The debacle in Mali in which the west is becoming embroiled in is entirely the result of Western intervention in the first place. The rebellion is a by-product of colonialism and rather than admit a mistake, France has charged in to keep two separate peoples together. The most direct reason for the rebels’ swift advances is all the fault of the west. Even Kofi Annan the former head of the UN acknowledges this.

Al-Gaddafi, the former dictator of Libya, (?????) employed many Tuareg peoples as mercenaries. Whenever the Libyan rebels were able to execute Gaddafi in the street, all made possible by Western air strikes, these mercenaries returned to Northern Mali with all of their weapons and training.

With these new heavily armed and trained reinforcements, the Tuaregs were able to advance rather rapidly as the Mali government experienced a coup and blundered around. While originally secular in nature, the Tuareg rebellion became hijacked by radical Islamists who became radicalized in Libya. Now, thanks to the West, they are back home and causing trouble.

Already not even a month into the intervention we have witnesses’ reprisals. The Algerian hostage crisis which came to a very tragic end is a direct response to the intervention. How long until these terrorists attempt to strike in France itself?

Prospects for success in this endeavor seem very bleak. The news widely reports how the rebels have been pushed back from the former front line and have abandoned many of the towns they have captured.

However, this does not mean victory is even close. The Tuareg people have been fighting guerrilla conflicts for generations against the French, the Mali government twice before, and now the French once again.

By pulling back the rebels are drawing the French and Africans into a long protracted guerrilla conflict for which the rebels are well suited. Barely even three weeks into the conflict and it looks as if Mali were turning into Afghanistan.

At least in Afghanistan the highly trained forces of NATO were present. But who is fighting these rebels in Mali besides the French?

The Mali military that, just last year, overthrew the Mali government and who had many men either abandon their posts or join with the rebels when they took the north of the country. African Union forces are supposed to join in the conflict but that will not be until later this year and the quality of such troops is highly questionable.

So basically, France will have to fight the entire insurgency with second rate allies, in terrain suited for the rebels who are highly motivated and who have historically been very able warriors and who have allies who have already used terrorist tactics in other nations. This seems to be a disaster in the making.

While it is certainly not good to have radical, crazy people imposing sharia law and chopping people’s hands off and terrorizing people, this solution to the problem seems more likely to only cause more problems.

It is worth reflection that had the previous Tuareg attempts for independence been successful or had France not forced two ethnically different people to be one country it is highly unlikely that Timbuktu would be controlled by Islamists as it currently is.

As George Santayana said, “Those that do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it”.

When looking at the past century of Western meddling it seems all but inevitable that we shall continue to make the same mistakes again and again resulting in more lost life and more unnecessary problems.