Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US raises doubts about Mali intervention

07 December 2012, 15:04

New York -The US has raised strong doubts that a planned African-led intervention force will be tough enough to tackle al-Qaeda linked militants in Mali, diplomats said.

The US is expected to become a major financier of any operation to oust militant Islamists and rebels who have taken over much of the West African nation and imposed a brutal rule.

Its military objections have made UN Security Council talks on the crisis tenser, diplomats said. France, main western backer of the African force, remains confident however that a resolution approving action will be passed this month.

The current plan is for the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to provide 3 300 troops to help Mali's crippled military attack the rebels in the north of the country.

Counter-terrorist operation

US ambassador Susan Rice has argued however that the west African troops are ill-suited for the desert battle against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) and its ally, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), UN diplomats who took part in council negotiations told AFP.

"She has argued that this should be a counter-terrorist operation and the fighters who take them on must have that background," one diplomat said.

Johnnie Carson, US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, outlined a long list of US "key questions" about the force to a House of Representatives foreign affairs sub-committee on Wednesday.

These include the "necessary force levels, the capabilities of the Malian and international forces to accomplish the objectives of the mission, cost and funding needs, logistical requirements, operational timelines, planning for minimising impacts on civilian security and the humanitarian situation," he said.

The US, UN and other countries have also said a strong emphasis must be put on political negotiations before the military move in.

Brutal Islamic law

Carson said US military planners are helping Ecowas with their intervention plan and US officials stress that Washington shares international fears over the rebels.

Tuareg rebels and the Islamist groups seized on the chaos caused by a military coup in Mali in March to take over almost half the country. They have since imposed a brutal Islamic law, carrying out floggings and executions and destroying Muslim shrines in the holy city of Timbuktu. But they are also fighting each other.

During consultations of the 15-nation Security Council on Wednesday, France and African nations pressed for a speedy approval of an authorisation resolution.

A Mali government minister said deployment of the international force has become urgent because of the suffering being inflicted by the Islamists.

But US ambassador Rice is "highly sceptical" of the West African plan, one UN diplomat said.

"There is little trust in the African troop contributors, that they can do the job, and there was little trust in the Mali army."

Questions about financing

Rice insisted there must be a "credible" force that "must kick al-Qaeda hard," added a second diplomat. She suggested that troops from Chad, experienced in desert warfare, could be sent.

France, Germany and the US are ready to send trainers to Mali. While some UN officials have spoken of a possible operation next September, US officials have indicated it could take at least a year just to train the Malian army.

There are also questions about the financing, which the UN leader Ban Ki-moon has said the UN cannot provide.

The first year will cost between $200m and $500m, according to various diplomats. The European Union, US and France are expected to be the main non-UN financiers.

An international fund, similar to one used to finance the African force in Somalia, could also be set up, diplomats said.

On the Security Council, Germany, France, Russia and China back force approval but the US stance could make talks "complicated", one diplomat said.

"We are at the beginning of a long and maybe winding and difficult road towards a resolution," said another.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...