HASTY INTERVENTION IN MALI WOULD FAIL – U.S AFRICOM COMMANDER; SAYS AQIM AIDING BOKO HARAM..FINANCIAL-IED TECHNOLOGY-TRAINING LINKAGES POSES GREATEST THREAT TO THE REGION

US AFRICOM Commander, General Carter F. Ham

US AFRICOM Commander, General Carter F. Ham

Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP)
3 December, 2012

The top US military commander in Africa warned Monday against any premature military action in Mali, even as he said that al-Qaida linked extremists have strengthened their hold on the northern part of the country. Army Gen. Carter Ham said that any military intervention done now would likely fail and would set the precarious situation there back “even farther than they are today.”

The African Union and United Nations are currently discussing the funding, troops and other assistance necessary to take back northern Mali from the extremists that took control there earlier this year. “Negotiation is the best way,”

Ham told an audience at George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute. “Military intervention may be a necessary component. But if there is to be military intervention it has to be successful, it cannot be done prematurely.” He said the plans will begin to play out in the coming weeks.

Ham’s comments provided greater public detail on the worrisome coordination between al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb,which bases its operations in Mali, and the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram, which is based in Nigeria. The growing linkage between the terror groups, Ham said, poses the greatest threat to the region.

The Africa Union has been pressing the
U.N. to take immediate military action to regain northern Mali, and Ham said that military intervention may well be
necessary. But he said the African-led
collaborative effort that has worked in Somalia may be the right model to use in Mali. That effort generally involves
intelligence and logistical support from
the United States, as well as funding and
training,but the fighting is led by African nations and does not include U.S.combat troops on the ground.

AQIM is the best financed al-Qaida
affiliate and officials have long said that it has been collaborating with Boko Haram. On Monday, Ham said that AQIM is providing financial support, training, and explosives to Boko Haram and “the relationship goes both ways.”

At the same time, Ham noted that Libyan mercenaries who left the country after Gadhafi’s ouster have been sending heavy weapons into Mali. With that, he said, it’s not unexpected to see militant training camps being set up in the ungoverned spaces, and militants increasing their recruiting efforts.

Boko Haram has made it known that the
groups wants to expand its activities
across the region and Europe, and it is
blamed for more than 760 killings this
year alone, according to an Associated
Press count. The group’s name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, and it argues for the implementation of strict Shariah law across the country.

In other comments, Ham said the military is still reviewing what adjustments it may want to make in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other Americans. While he would not comment on the
details of the incident or the military
response, he said the review also will
address whether there should be any
changes made to the Marine security
teams that guard the embassies and consulates.

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4 Responses to HASTY INTERVENTION IN MALI WOULD FAIL – U.S AFRICOM COMMANDER; SAYS AQIM AIDING BOKO HARAM..FINANCIAL-IED TECHNOLOGY-TRAINING LINKAGES POSES GREATEST THREAT TO THE REGION

  1. doziex says:

    Unless nigeria is ready to sacrifice, and fund and man an intervention force on par with the ecomog efforts in liberia and sierra leone, or the EU & the US is willing to fund and equip a west african force on par with the size of AMISOM, armed intervention in northern mali would be a definite failure as general Ham has said.

    The EU & the US should find a way to encourage and support the indispensable nigerian stabilizing role in west africa.

    In the past, they have paid only lip service, while in deed, they remained indifferent, or sabotaged nigerian stabilizing missions by proxy.

    The french in particular, after decades of encouraging francophone west africa to resist nigerian or is it “Anglophone” domination, cannot just wash it’s hands off west africa, simply because it has found new purpose within the EU.

    The less grand standing, the better. Neither senegal, ghana, cote de ivoire or burkinafaso can be a substitute for the stabilizing role nigeria can continue to provide for the sub region.

    This is just a realization of facts and capabilities, and not about jingoism or nationalism.

    Those who remain inexplicably opposed to nigeria’s traditional stabilizing role in west africa, had better come up with credible alternatives. Because, for the sub region, it is put up or shut up time.

  2. bigbrovar says:

    After talking with a couple of Malian Students in my school and also a professor from that region.. It occurs to me that the situation in Mali is messier than is obvious to outsiders. First of majority of people in northern mali seem to be in support of the Islamic group especially as they have helped them in dealing with the Tuareg rebellion which many of the people of northern mali de-taste and which the malian military have been unable to combat. Even the Islamist in northern mali are more concerned with the Narcotics trade and money made from kidnapping than religious fanaticism. What is really worrisome here is how many people in Malian government gets kicks back from these licit activities of the Islamist and are thus reluctant to remove them from the equation. Hence we have an entrenched group in a area bigger than the whole of northern Nigeria with support of the local populace and tacit support from government. This is were we intend to send in about 3000 troops? If anything can be gotten from Sierra Lone and Liberia ( smaller conflict covering a much smaller geographical area) it took 7,000 strong force over a period of 10 years to being those conflict to some measure of conclusion. I can assure you that Nigeria do not have the political will to repeat the billions we spent in prosecuting the liberian / sierra leonian conflict. Before we put one step in Mali, there need to be an exit strategy and our objective most be clearly stated. We also need to consider whether this is a fight worth fighting in the first place.

  3. doziex says:

    @big brovar, as distasteful as a malian intervention is, we must recognize that it is a test of leadership in west africa, and in africa as a whole.

    So, if nigeria does not rise to the occasion, others or a combination of others will, and most likely to our long term detriment.

    Nigeria does not have a choice in the matter. We must possess the military wherewithal to deal with such crises, be it within nigeria or in the african continent, west africa especially.

    After mali, it would be another crises, and as the french strategically steps away from africa, most of these crises would land at nigeria’s door step and that of others vying for leadership in this continent.

    It is our choice, if we choose not to lead, but we must factor in the future repercussions, as we make that choice.

    • Bigbrovar says:

      I share your sentiment. Still we should be careful not to get bogged down in another crisis without end. We need an exit strategy and mission goal and objective as we lead our troops into unfriendly hostile territory.

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