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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 30-Jan-2013
30-Jan-13 World View -- Mali, Libya, Egypt, Syria governments in sharp deterioration

Web Log - January, 2013

30-Jan-13 World View -- Mali, Libya, Egypt, Syria governments in sharp deterioration

Lakhdar Brahimi says that Syria is 'breaking up before everyone's eyes'

This morning's key headlines from

Malians in Timbuktu cheer French troops but seek ethnic revenge

Malians cheer the arrival of French troops in Timbuktu (Reuters)
Malians cheer the arrival of French troops in Timbuktu (Reuters)

French and Malian troops regained control of Timbuktu on Monday, and were greeted by local residents with broad smiles and wild cheers. However, ethnic tensions are rising, as black-skinned Malians are seeking revenge against light-skinned ethnic Tuaregs and "Arabs," who are blamed for the jihadist horrors that the Malians suffered. Because of reports of looting and targeting of civilians in newly liberated areas, France in favor of rapidly deploying "international observers" to ensure that human rights are respected in Mali. It's unclear to me what "international observers" means, but I suspect it implies troops from other non-African countries who won't take side in Mali's ethnic battles. France's president François Hollande is calling for additional troops from African nations, so that France can reduce its own commitment, which is becoming increasingly unpopular in France. France 24

Britain reverses direction, will send hundreds of troops to Mali

Just two weeks ago, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said that no British troops would be sent to join France's troops in Mali, but now Cameron is flying to Algerian to underline his brand new commitment to send hundreds of British troops to Mali and the region. Britain's defense minister denies that this is "mission creep," as the troops will be used for training Malian troops:

"It is not our intention to deploy combat troops. We are very clear about the risk of mission creep and we have defined very carefully the support we are willing and able to provide to the French and the Malian authorities.

We have an absolute duty to intervene wherever there is a threat to Britain's national security and the security of Britain's interests around the world and this is exactly such a case. This is a well-judged, well-leveraged intervention that will deliver efficiently a result that is in Britain's national interest."

However, an opposition leader says that Mali could become Britain's Vietnam:

"The American catastrophe in Vietnam started off with American troops in a training capacity."

Britain's announcement follows by one day the American military's announcement that it plans to set up drone base in Niger on Mali border, along with 300 troops. Guardian (London) and Telegraph (London)

U.N. warns that Mali's jihadists threaten Libya's stability

An unintended consequence of the West's military intervention in Libya in 2011 is that, when it ended, hardened Tuareg and al-Qaeda linked jihadist rebels fled to Mali and took control of the northern two-thirds of the nation. Now, with French and Malian troops driving the rebels out of the major cities in northern Mali, the United Nations is concerned that they'll return to Libya and destabilize that country:

"The opposition of armed radical groups to the military intervention in Mali may exacerbate the situation (in Libya) given ideological and/or ethnic affiliations as well as porous borders in Libya."


Egypt's army chief warns that widespread unrest could cause 'state collapse'

Protesters continued to ignore on Tuesday evening a curfew order broadcast on Sunday by president Mohamed Morsi, calling the situation a "state of emergency." Protests between Islamists on the one hand and secularists and liberals on the other hand have been growing more raucous each week. Egypt's defense minister / army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, says that failure to resolve the situation "could lead to grave repercussions" and would threaten Egypt's stability:

"The continuing conflict between political forces and their differences concerning the management of the country could lead to a collapse of the state and threaten future generations."

Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Al-Jazeera

Lakhdar Brahimi says that Syria is 'breaking up before everyone's eyes'

The United Nations / Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the Security Council on Tuesday that extreme horrors are destabilizing Syria, and threatening contamination in neighboring countries. The warning comes a day after a shocking new massacre was discovered in Aleppo, with 79 bodies pulled from the river.

"Unprecedented levels of horror have been reached. The tragedy does not have an end.

I'm sorry if I sound like an old broken record. The country is breaking up before everyone's eyes. Only the international community can help and first and foremost the Security Council."

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Russia and China have repeatedly blocked any Security Council resolutions threatening sanctions, and those vetoes are unlikely to change. Brahimi added the risk of contamination is another reason why action is required:

"Most regional parties have aligned with one of the parties in Syria. There might be implications if the crisis continues spiraling. The refugee flow is becoming a matter of controversy in these countries.

Syria is becoming a playground for competing forces.

None of the neighbors is immune to the fallout consequences of the conflict. The region is facing the risk of contamination."

Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel warned Tuesday that Syria is falling apart and no one knows what the next day may bring: “War may not break out tomorrow,” he said, “but we stand ready for any eventuality.” Telegraph (London) and Debka

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Jan-13 World View -- Mali, Libya, Egypt, Syria governments in sharp deterioration thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Jan-2013) Permanent Link
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