Feature: Soapbox Musings

Mali: The Next Afghanistan

Author: Paul Doolan
Published: January 15, 2013 at 5:03 pm

When NATO forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 their objective was to get rid of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida fighters. This was soon successfully achieved. But 12 years later, NATO forces are still bogged down in a war that they will not win. Meanwhile, the war had totally unexpected outcomes, particularly the destabilizing of a nuclear armed and fragile Pakistan. The situation in Pakistan has become so violent that the response of the USA is more violence, by means of President Obama’s weapon of choice, the drone. The use of the drone has made Obama the world’s leading assassin.

When NATO forces bombed Libya in 2011 their objective was to get rid of Gaddafi and his henchmen. This was soon successfully achieved. But that war is now seeing some totally unexpected outcomes. Many of Gaddafi’s soldiers were Tuareg tribesmen form Mali. Out of a job and persecuted in Libya, they have now returned home to Mali, well-armed and seething with rage. Islamic Jihadists have joined the fray, and Mali’s fledgling democracy has been brought to an end in a military coup. This week, with the blessing of the UN, France, a member of NATO, has sent its troops into Mali to fight yet another Muslim enemy.

We lurch from military crisis to crisis, most of them of our own making. One can only wonder what the unexpected outcomes of this military intervention will be.


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Article Author: Paul Doolan

I teach history in Zurich, Switzerland and politics in Birmingham, UK. Follow me on twitter@Nalood

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