U.N. Security Council Approves Mali Intervention Force
[An Nahar] The U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved sending an African-led intervention force to help Mali's army reconquer much of the country from Islamist thugs.
The 15-member council gave the force an initial one year mandate to use "all necessary measures" to help the Mali government take back the northern half of the country from "terrorist, turban and gangs."
West African nations say they have 3,300 troops ready to go to Mali to help rebuild the country's army and support a military operation which planners say cannot be launched before September of next year.
Tuareg rebels and other separatists and al-Qaeda linked thug groups took advantage of a coup in Mali in March to seize control of a vast chunk of territory where the Islamists have since imposed a brutal form of Islamic law.
La Belle France drew up the resolution after weeks of talks with the United States, which expressed doubts the troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would be ready for a desert battle against the thugs.
In parallel to political efforts to draw the Tuareg rebels into a coalition against the turban groups, European nations and the international force, to be known as the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), will first train Mali's army.
The resolution sets down benchmarks for political progress and military preparations that will have to be met before a final onslaught against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its allies is approved.
The resolution emphasized that "military planning will need to be further refined before the commencement of the offensive operation."
It said that U.N. Secretary General the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon
... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan...
, ECOWAS, the African Union
...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful...
and other states involved will have to secure "the council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation."
Posted by: Fred