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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 27-Jan-2018
27-Jan-18 World View -- Jihadists attack UN peacekeepers in Mali just as UN demands that Mali implement peace agreement

Web Log - January, 2018

27-Jan-18 World View -- Jihadists attack UN peacekeepers in Mali just as UN demands that Mali implement peace agreement

War becomes more likely as Mali enters a generational Crisis era

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Jihadists attack UN peacekeepers in Mali just as UN demands that Mali implement peace agreement

Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, built around 1300, was under attack by Tuareg rebellion
Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, built around 1300, was under attack by Tuareg rebellion

A spate of jihadist terror attacks in central Mali on Thursday left nearly forty people dead. At least 26 people were killed in a landmine explosion that was targeting the UN's peacekeeping mission in Mali. The peacekeeping mission is named MINUSMA, or the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission. There were two further attacks, also on Thursday in central Mali, killing seven jihadists and two soldiers.

The irony is that, whether by accident or on purpose, the jihadist attacks occurred just after the UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement criticizing the government and several ethnic groups in Mali for not implementing a 2015 peace agreement. The Security Council threatened additional sanctions against officials in Mali if the terms of the peace deal haven't been implemented by the end of March.

Once again, watching a UNSC "peace process" in action, one has the feeling that one is watching a farce. The 2015 peace agreement was signed by the government and by several ethnic and rebel groups who are mostly cooperating with the government. But Mali is a huge country and the agreement does not cover all of it, and of course the jihadists that conducted Thursday's attacks were not party to the agreement at all. So it's hard to see how the agreement even makes any sense.

Apparently the thought behind the agreement is that government and these rebel groups would work together to defeat the jihadists, and so bring peace to the land. If they really wanted to do that, then they wouldn't need a peace agreement, and anyway, Mali is too large a country to be governable.

The UN Security Council statement is actually quite interesting, since it lists all the things that the parties have to do to bring peace to Mali. Here are some excerpts:

"The members of the Security Council expressed a shared sense of impatience regarding the persistent delays in the full implementation of key provisions of the Agreement. They underscored the pressing need to deliver tangible and visible peace dividends to the population in the north and other parts of Mali. ...

The members of the Security Council stressed in this context the importance of taking immediate and concrete action to fully and expeditiously deliver on key provisions of the Agreement, in particular through: progress in the decentralization process, including through the holding of appropriate consultations between the parties aimed at reviewing and strengthening consensus on existing legislation and through the adoption of legislation establishing a regional territorial police force; the operationalization of the interim administrations in the north of Mali, including through the allocation of the necessary human, technical and financial resources to perform their missions; progress in the cantonment and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes, including through the definition of adequate eligibility criteria and reintegration quotas and through the submission of finalized lists of candidates, as well as progress in the security sector reform, with a view to the progressive redeployment of the reconstituted armed and security forces in Mali; the establishment of the Operational Coordination Mechanism in Kidal and Timbuktu; and ensuring full and equal participation of women."

That's an interesting list of tasks. It's a shame that none of them has much to do with ending jihadist attacks or bringing peace.

And notice the last task "and ensuring full and equal participation of women." This shows what a farce this is. Instead of worrying about stopping jihadist attacks, they're worried that the security forces will be half men and half women. You'd think that this was a parody dreamed up by people who want to mock and ridicule the United Nations, but no, this is the real thing. Radio France Internationale (RFI) and AP and United Nations

War becomes more likely as Mali enters a generational Crisis era

The downfall of Libya's dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 created a domino effect that led to a rebellion in northern Mali by the Tuaregs, an ethnic groups spread across northern Africa's Sahel region between Libya and Mali. The domino effect continued when the chaos of the Tuareg rebellion led to an al-Qaeda linked jihadist incursion.

The jihadists were briefly chased out by France's Operation Serval, but they returned, and led to other rebel and jihadist groups to enter the region. There were numerous international efforts, mainly led by France, to eject the rebel and jihadist groups. The most ambitious was Operation Barkhane, an offensive deployed in 2014 in five countries, which sought to fight jihadists in five countries -- Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso. The United Nations peacekeeping effort, the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), was established on April 25, 2013.

It was just a week ago that we reported that Britain agreed to send three RAF CH-47 Chinook transport heavy lift helicopters to provide logistical support to France's Operation Barkhane, along with 50-60 support staff.

MINUSMA has been pretty much a failure, and has come under increasing criticism. According to a United Nations analysis released earlier this week, MINUSMA is being reassessed.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, says the following:

"Five years after the Missionís establishment and two years and a half after the signature of the peace agreement, we believe the time has come to reassess the assumptions that underpin MINUSMAís presence, review its key mandated tasks against achievements on the ground and reexamine the Missionís layout through a comprehensive strategic review."

Of course, this political gobbledygook really says nothing, but it does express increasing anxiety over what's taking place.

Now, that statement was released before Thursday's attack targeting the MINUSMA peacekeepers themselves. In general, jihadists are increasingly targeting UN peacekeepers, and this is no exception.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this appears to be a textbook case of what happens when a country is about to enter a generational Crisis era.

Mali's last generational crisis war was the Tuareg rebellion that climaxed in 1963.

After a crisis civil war reaches a climax and is settled, the traumatized survivors reach an agreement to make sure that nothing like it ever happens again. But as younger generations grow up after the war, low-level violence begins and increases. As the war survivors die off, this violence becomes more violent and occurs more often, although the war survivors prevent it from tipping into full-scale war.

Based on examination of hundreds of examples in all places and times in history, Generational Dynamics has found that a turning point is reached 58 years after the climax of the preceding crisis war, which is the time when the country enters a new generational Crisis era ("fourth turning"). That seems to be the point in time when the generations of war survivors disappear (retire or die) so completely that they're unable to prevent another war, and so a new crisis war can begin in any of the years that follow.

So 2018 is the 55th year after the end of the 1963 Tuareg Rebellion. History has shown that's a little too early for full-scale war to occur. But as each year passes, there are fewer and fewer war survivors around, and there are more and more kids in the younger generations with a thirst for war.

This is what we're seeing now. The United Nations Security Council made a 2015 peace agreement with representatives of the old geezers in the war survivor generation. The agreement is nice to have, but it's completely irrelevant to the increasingly nationalistic and xenophobic younger generations. So there is zero probability that the 2015 agreement will be implemented, and there is zero probability that MINUSMA or the United Nations will have any success whatsoever in quelling the violence in Mali, which is only going to increase. IRIN News and United Nations and 2015 Mali Peace Agreement and BBC (20-Aug-2017)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Jan-18 World View -- Jihadists attack UN peacekeepers in Mali just as UN demands that Mali implement peace agreement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Jan-2018) Permanent Link
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