Mali News #3 – New year, new prospects?
On Friday the hopes of the new year was negated as Ansar Dine announced that they were suspending the cessation of hostilities claiming that the Malians had made a mockery by gearing up for war. It strikes me as interesting that the quote Reuters obtained from Ansar Dine referred to the, “Malians” which would imply to me that Ansar Dine see themselves as separate from Malians in general. An interesting shift in language, and quite hypocritical considering the reports of the underground fortresses and general fortifications being made in northern cities.
To understand Ansar Dine and the Magreb this first part of a piece on the Jihadi perspective on the Mali crisis makes very interesting reading. Especially as videos continue to be published from Gao showing amputations and other punishments.
In Bamako, many are continuing to agitate for war as Tiken Jah releases a single using historical imagery to encourage national mobilization in Mali. Something which Bruce Whitehouse thinks will both resonate and could be used more often in the coming months.
Meanwhile in France, a judge has claimed that the continuing occupation of Northern Mali paves the way for militant attacks on France. Despite the rhetoric of the piece it’s unclear whether there is significant evidence to give this report a lot of credence.