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lundi 2 avril 2012

What's going on in Mali?

If Kal at the Moor Next Door can post first thoughts in response to something, your blogger thinks she can too.

Every day seems to bring new news about the coup in Mali, so any definitive view is premature. So far, coverage has mostly been negative.  Latest reports also indicate that in addition to sanctions by fellow West African nations, the coup leaders lost control of Timbuktu to the Tuareg rebels. 

Here are the main thoughts, which will be developed later:
1. Is this really so surprising? Things have been getting out of hand in Mali for a while, but regional focus had been on Wade in Senegal and his desire to extend his term.

2. Foreign Policy had a blog post asking "Why are coups always led by colonels?" but specifically in West Africa, there are even more junior officers: Rawlings in Ghana, Tolbert in Liberia was ousted by privates and NCOs, Thomas Sankara was a captain...

3. Noise has been made about US training of the coup leaders. That might be important or it might not. Lots of people do military training in the US, because the US has facilities and resources. It doesn't automatically make every trainee a US agent, any more than doing a post-doc at CERN commands a scientist to work forever exclusively for Switzerland's benefit.

Finally, your blogger has been doing a lot of catch-up background reading. However, she'll need to bump up Why Nations Fail since it's just been mentioned by Tom Friedman and therefore will probably be hugely popular with library patrons.

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