Monday, April 20, 2015

Maybe This Will Be Good Enough

Could Mali settle down and allow the north and south to reconcile to make sure Mali doesn't become a haven again for jihadis?

This appears to be progress:

International mediators in the Mali conflict on Saturday invited all parties to sign a peace and reconciliation agreement at a ceremony on May 15 in Bamako, a statement said. ...

Peace talks begun in Algiers last July resulted last month in a deal between the Malian government and some armed groups, but not by the main Tuareg rebel alliance known as the Coordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA), which wanted amendments.

But at this point, I'm not hopeful if the "agreement" is merely a piece of paper that most Tuaregs believe is insufficient for providing autonomy.

Remember, the northern Tuaregs have long chafed under southern rule. When Libya was destabilized in 2011, jihadis flowed into Mali and the Tuaregs believed that alliance with these jihadis would allow them to throw off southern rule.

Life under the jihadis rather quickly revealed the error of their thinking. So when the French counter-attacked in 2013, the jihadis did not have enough local support to resist their rapid advance north.

Autonomy is a necessity if we are to avoid the Tuaregs again thinking jihadis can be good partners--much as Iraqi Sunni Arabs aligned with jihadis in 2004 only to turn on them in the Awakening in 2007--and then to turn back to the jihadis last year.

When each side has differing views on what the deal should be, it really isn't a deal at all.

Perhaps by May 15, it really will be an actual deal.