First Published: 2012-11-08

 

Mali intervention plan under scrutiny: West African to hold summit in Abuja

 

Delegates say over 4,000 troops could be sent into Mali, whose vast arid north has been occupied by Qaeda-linked extremists for seven months.

 

Middle East Online

Mali: Once one of region's most stable democracies

BAMAKO - West African heads of state will meet in Abuja on Sunday to adopt a plan for their troops to recapture northern Mali from radical Islamists, the grouping said in a statement on Thursday.

Once approved by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders, the strategy "will then be transmitted through the African Union, before November 15, to the UN Security Council."

The Security Council on October 12 approved a resolution urging ECOWAS to speed up preparations for a military intervention to help recapture northern Mali. It gave ECOWAS until November 26 to clarify its plans.

ECOWAS army chiefs on Tuesday adopted the military blueprint, which was drawn up with the help of experts from the European Union, AU, UN and the region.

The details of the plan have not been made public, but delegates say over 4,000 troops could be sent into Mali, whose vast arid north has been occupied by Al Qaeda-linked extremists for seven months.

The UN wants clarification on the composition of the proposed force, the level of participation from the various West African nations, the financing of the operation and the military means to carry it out.

The ECOWAS statement said the bloc's military brass has asked for a planning committee to be set up to "refine the harmonised plan" and organise a donors conference.

This committee will be charged with "identifying the shortfalls as soon as possible and proposing the types and number of units" which will make up the force.

The Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution giving the green light for the deployment of troops once it has studied the intervention plan.

Mali, once one of the region's most stable democracies, rapidly imploded after a coup in March allowed Tuareg desert nomads, who had relaunched a decades-old rebellion for independence, to seize the main towns in the north with the help of Islamist allies.

The secular separatists were quickly sidelined by the Islamists who had little interest in their aspirations for an independent homeland and set about implementing their version of strict sharia law.

Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have cracked down on local populations, stoning unmarried couples, amputating thieves' hands and whipping drinkers and smokers.

The crisis has displaced about 200,000 Malians inside the country, while as many have fled to neighbouring states, according to the UN.

Facing a potentially violent ouster, Ansar Dine has sent envoys to Ouagadougou and Algiers for negotiations and this week called for all armed movements to halt hostilities and join in dialogue, while rejecting "all forms of terrorism".

The Islamists' ties with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which has long been present in Mali's north, has triggered fears in the region and the west that the zone could become a haven for radicals.

Ansar Dine spokesman Mohamed Ag Aharid on Wednesday warned in Ouagadougou that any military intervention in Mali would "set the region ablaze."

 

Iraq’s peshmerga ‘break’ Mount Sinjar siege

Yemen’s Huthis seize Sanaa state offices

Tough times for oil-rich GCC

Obama concerned about Egypt mass trials

Tumbling oil prices cut budgets of Mideast arms exporters

Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion

EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Turkey court remands Samanyolu TV chief in custody

IS threatens to kill Lebanese soldiers held hostage

Turkish media chiefs charged with terrorism

Iraq may delay payment of Kuwait war reparations

Over $900 million needed to help Syria children

Saudi rules out oil output reduction

Dutch populist lawmaker to be tried for 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Outrage in Algeria over Islamist call for Algerian author's death

Iraq Kurds, coalition launch offensive to retake Sinjar

Three years to end Israeli occupation in UN resolution

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015

Gulf stock markets tumble

Australia mourns Sydney cafe siege victims

Hostages flee as police storm Sydney café

Erdogan to EU: Mind your own business!

Syria PM in Iran for talks with key ally

22 Swiss jihadists fighting abroad

#illridewithyou: Australians stand in solidarity with Muslims

Sydney siege 'lone wolf' or IS-led attack?

EU support UN efforts for Aleppo ceasefire

Saudi policeman killed in Riyadh hostage-taking

Saudi king receives Jordan monarch

Palestinians push UN bid to end Israeli occupation