First Published: 2012-11-10

 

West Africa plots expanded military force in north Mali

 

Talks among West African nations on strategy to retake Mali's Islamist-held north include plans for expanded mission of 5,500 troops.

 

Middle East Online

Islamists on defensive

ABUJA- Talks among West African nations on a strategy to retake Mali's Islamist-held north have included plans for an expanded mission of 5,500 troops, including those from outside the region, a source familiar with the talks said Friday.

Representatives from South Africa, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya, Algeria and Chad would also be invited to participate in a regional summit on the military strategy set for Sunday in the Nigerian capital Abuja, the source said.

The number of troops would be a substantial increase from the just over 3,000 originally proposed by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The source spoke as a meeting of ECOWAS foreign and defence ministers was under way in Abuja. Defence chiefs from the region were also attending.

"ECOWAS defence chiefs have proposed a change in the composition of the troops to be deployed," the source from the bloc said.

"They are recommending to the summit 5,500 troops as against the initial proposition of 3,200 by ECOWAS. The difference is expected to be contributed by non-ECOWAS states which have signified interest to contribute troops."

He added that "South Africa, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya, Algeria and Chad are being invited to participate at the summit level on Sunday."

The military plan would eventually be sent for approval at the UN Security Council, which on October 12 set a 45-day timeframe for a blueprint. It would be delivered through the African Union's Peace and Security Council.

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 Islamic law.

 

Veteran crisis manager Ouyahia recalled as Algeria PM

Iraqi jets pound IS-held Tal Afar

Iran warns it can quit nuclear deal within hours

Tunisia foils plot to help IS seize territory

Damascus International Fair back after 5-year absence

Lebanon repeals 'marry your rapist' law

Turkey asks Germany to investigate 'top coup fugitive' sightings

Iran laments ‘hypocritical’ US religious freedom report

No single pattern in radicalisation of foreign fighters, says Tunisian study

Turkey tells Iraqi Kurds that referendum risks ‘civil war’

Russia hopes Iran will stick to nuclear deal

Israel demolishes home of Palestinian attacker's family

Libyan coastguard threaten migrant aid group

Kuwait reports second oil spill

Algeria President sacks PM after less than three months

Israel detains Islamic cleric for inciting violence

Western-backed rebels claim to shoot down Syrian jet

ICC issues arrest of Libyan National Army commander

Qatar says 'lot of time' needed to rebuild Gulf trust

Oil governor of Iraq’s Basra flees to Iran amid corruption probe

Macron tells Erdogan to release French journalist

Fatwa against Ibadi Muslims in Libya risks igniting sectarian strife

Archaeologists uncover three ancient tombs in Egypt

Turkey arrests Belgian IS member suspected of ‘planning attack’

Iraq, Saudi to reopen border crossing after 27 years

Iran parliament takes step towards easing drug laws

Syrian civilians flee jihadist conscription

Turkish police hunt coup suspects

Conflicts in Syria, Iraq far from over

Heat wave, raging fires take toll across Maghreb

Italy sends envoy back to Egypt after student killing

UN says Yemen air raids exceed rate last year

US troops killed in Iraq artillery 'mishap'

Roadside blast kills 12 civilians in south Yemen

Marooned in jihad: Russian fighters blocked from returning home

Syrians fleeing IS face ‘terrible’ camp conditions

Palestinian Authority releases arrested journalists

Dubai’s soaring property sales boost Emaar’s profits

Iraq struggling to contain its militia activity in Syria

WHO says over half-million affected by cholera in Yemen

Divorces rising to record high in Jordan

Over 600,000 Syrians return home says UN

Will Moroccan Jews in Israel vote Labour in 2019 elections?

Lebanese Army readies for second phase of border campaign

Iranian conservatives tighten grip on Expediency Council