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Friday, January 18, 2013

Mali crisis rooted in “political, economic processes” FPF/IPS Emira Woods

Mali has a longstanding
yet ambivalent relationship with
former colonial ruler, France.
Resource rich, Western- might exploited, people poor
Re-reporting, editing, brief comment bracketed by Carolyn Bennett


Between the 13th and 16th centuries, Mali was a flourishing trading empire in West Africa. The Mali Empire is said to have been founded before AD 1000.

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire.

During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, Mali was one of the most expansive empires in the world.

n the late 19th century ─ during the Scramble for Africa ─ France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan.

By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control as a part of French Sudan. In early 1959, French Sudan (which changed its name to the Sudanese Republic) and Senegal united to become the Mali Federation. The Mali Federation gained independence from France on  June 20, 1960. 

Senegal withdrew from the federation in August 1960, which allowed the Sudanese Republic to become the independent Republic of Mali on September 22, 1960.

Modibo Keïta was elected the first president. Keïta quickly established a one-party state, adopted an independent African and socialist orientation with close ties to the East, and implemented extensive nationalization of economic resources.

After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state.

Mali’s Resources

Mali’s leading export product is gold. The country has the third highest gold production (mined in the southern region) in Africa (after South Africa and Ghana). Its considerable and most widely exploited natural resources include gold, uranium, phosphates, kaolinite, salt and limestone. Its economic structure centers on agriculture and fishing.

Malian refugee
Mali’s People

But half the population of Mali lives in poverty and the country faces numerous environmental challenges:  desertification, deforestation, soil erosion, and inadequate supplies of potable water.

Western might-made crisis

Emira Woods of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies says the NATO intervention in Libya unleashed weapons from President Muammar al Qaddafi’s coffers and from the international community, and opened the opportunity for today’s crisis in Mali.

In its Wednesday edition, the Morning Star online UK agreed: “The situation in Mali is directly linked to the NATO mobilization in 2011 to overthrow the Qaddafi regime in Libya.”

Weapons’ flowing from Libya, across borders of Algeria, into northern Mali are enabling crisis and further destabilizing northern Mali, Woods said. [And, of course, the crisis in and around Mali is part of a Western-made compounding series of crises that are spreading and deepening and suppressing peoples across the Middle East, South Central Asia and Africa.]

hat you have,” Woods said, “is a situation where unilateral intervention [can] create complications down the road ─ airstrikes targeting civilians and worsening a political crisis that cannot be resolved militarily.”
Mali’s crisis is rooted in “political and economic processes,” Woods says. There can be no military solution to the crisis in Mali.

Sources and notes

Wikipedia notes

Mali: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mali

Britannica notes

ka·o·lin·ite \-lə-"nīt\ n (1867) : a white mineral consisting of a hydrous silicate of aluminum that constitutes the principal mineral in kaolin

ura·ni·um \yụ-'rā-nē-əm\ n, often attrib, [NL, fr. Uranus] (ca. 1797) : a silvery heavy radioactive polyvalent metallic element that is found esp. in uraninite and exists naturally as a mixture of mostly nonfissionable isotopes see element table

phosphate rock n (1870) : a rock that consists largely of calcium phosphate usu. together with other minerals (as calcium carbonate), is used in making fertilizers, and is a source of phosphorus compounds

phos·phate \'fäs-"fāt\ n [F, fr. acide phosphorique phosphoric acid] (1788)
1 a (1): a salt or ester of a phosphoric acid (2): the trivalent anion PO43- derived from phosphoric acid H3PO4 b : an organic compound of phosphoric acid in which the acid group is bound to nitrogen or a carboxyl group in a way that permits useful energy to be released (as in metabolism)

“No Military Solution Can Solve Crisis in Mali, says Emira Woods” (By Emira Woods, January 15, 2013),  http://www.fpif.org/blog/no_military_solution_can_solve_crisis_in_mali_says_emira_woods

Emira Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. She spoke with a PBS news program.

Maps: WorldAtlas

Libya all over again, Tuesday  January 15, 2013, Morning Star, http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/128302


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