A Disaster 50 Years in The Making « Dekhnstan
The notion that an ECOWAS force with the backing of the African Union, and the necessary paperwork from the UN Security Council is a recipe for disaster. Rotten and corrupt militaries, commanded by equally corrupt leaders cannot be a credible partner once the shooting starts. This line of thinking owes a lot more to post-colonial discourses than it does to the practical matter of drying out the northern Malian jihadi swamp.
The other principle complicating the matter is Africa’s biggest taboo. Today, no one is willing to recognize that Mali, like many most of Africa, is an artificial construct. Just like the Middle East’s levant, countries were created without much thought of whether they made sense for those destined to live in them. Ethnic groups, competing cultures are condemned to live in them. Maybe they will end up making sense, but just in Mali, that will cost a lot of blood and treasure.
Although the logical next step in Azawad’s history is independence, in practical policy terms, it is impossible to advocate for an Azawadi state now. A step in that direction is unlikely to gain much traction in African Union meetings is autonomy.
This is the compromise that any serious attempt to defeat Jihadism must include. after all, as the French learned a century earlier, the only tried and tested strategy to control that area is divide and conquer. Giving Azawadis incentives to repudiate Jihadism is the only way to go.