Bamako is reforging the alliances with the corrupt elite (who only a few months ago they were fighting) in an effort to buy stability. Meanwhile the French are paying 15 mln Euros in ransoms to the same people they are fighting. It cannot work.
The question for is how well organized these Islamists really are in the region?
How well organized is tricky, as to be able to continue the fight they are organized enough to hold the fight and continue another day. There are essentially two different groups, which are then subdivided into particular entities.
First you have the traditional Touareg and people of the north ... separatist which only want conditions to go back to things as they were before the French, i.e. a separate Touareg, men of the north state. Boundaries at Timbuktu and north, and everything east of the Niger River after the bend at Gao.
Then the second group is the foreign fighters and radical jihadist Touareg/men of the north (men of the north are Fulani and other tribes with northern footing over the centuries and some Dogon) this group and all the sub splits want a basic fundamental Islamic state along the line of the Taliban and AQ.
The reason the Jihadist have not and did not gain total control of the north is this split; the majorities of the people of the north are not radical Islamist but practice Islam in their manner and carry on their customs and traditions.
The separatist are still there of the various leanings. They know they cannot stand and fight the French with their jet fighters and attack helos, so back to basics and attacking when they can, traditional guerilla tactics. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan they are willing to wait it out. They know the French cannot or will not be there forever.
This latest fighting started after the fall of Moamar Gadhafi in Libya. The bulk of the troops that fought till the end were Touareg (also called Tomacheck) and when they quit the fight they left with weapons and came back to the Tuareg in Mali and first took Meneka and then the rest of the north till they stopped outside of Mopti.
The present government of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) as president. He has a major problem before all the other ones that the west is concerned about, who is in charge of the country, him or former Capt. now General Sanago.
The previous interim presidents had the same problem, Sanago was mockingly called the second president by the population. If you remember a couple of weeks ago it was reported a serious all day fight at camp Kati (equivalent to a fight at Socom) that was between IBK men and Sanago. Until this is sorted out nothing will change!
IBK is under pressure as he promised to settle the issue in the north and has done nothing on that end, as he is saddled with the previous problem.
When a decision is made ,expect a split of the country into a Mali and a separate northern state. Most people accept this as they see a split in the people as Tuareg and black Africans are different people with separate goals and customs. People in Mali on Both sides view the situation like this.
Along with this social view point is history, all the previous empires pretty much had boundary at Timbuktu and Gao. The French during the colonial period are the ones that set current boundaries.
Too weaken the fundamentalist Jihadist groups; support the Touareg separatist let them drive out the radicals to create their own state. There are a lot of complexities to this but it is workable.
Strategic and tactical analysis based on Ultrascan-HUMINT research and dialogue with tribal leaders in Mali recorded by Ultrascan-HUMINT for HUMINT Tribal Mapping.
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November 18, 2013
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