Mali These Days

Things are astir in Mali and throughout West Africa and the Sahel.  It’s not a region we hear a lot about in the United States, but it’s got more to do with Americans, especially as it pertains to the war on terror and to economic developments, than I’d realized.  Read up in the situation here:

The political crisis in Mali, precipitated by a military coup d’état on 22 March that toppled the country’s increasingly unpopular president, Amadou Toumani Touré (popularly known as ATT), continues to deepen. Up until the coup, Mali had long been regarded as a bastion of democracy in an otherwise volatile region. Several observers of Malian politics have noted that the current political crisis, exemplified in the very occurrence of the coup, has challenged this narrative. They argue that analyses of the crisis have neglected to examine the ways in which it laid bare the corruption of the Malian state and the increasingly evident failures of the neoliberal framework within which it formulated its policies.


The coup leader, Captain Amadou Sonogo, is a former recipient of US counter-terrorism training. Observers have noted that the “War on Terror” in the Sahel forms an integral backdrop to the Mali coup. As scholar of West African history Gregory Mann writes in Foreign Policy, “a decade of American investment in Special Forces training, cooperation between Sahalien armies and the United States, and counter-terrorism programs of all sorts run by both the State Department and the Pentagon has, at best, failed to prevent a new disaster in the desert and, at worst, sowed its seeds.”

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