Asked again: Will the US intervene in Mali?
Posted by Charles II on January 18, 2013
Since I quickly put together a post titled The Yellowcake War on whether the US would intervene in Mali, the following have emerged:
* The US is not permitted to directly aid the Malian government, such as it is, because it was formed through a coup.
* The US is permitted to do whatever it wants because the Islamists have chosen to include Al Qaeda in their name (no, I am not kidding)
* The US is absolutely committed to making sure that the Islamists don’t establish a base of operations in Mali
* Ryan Crocker, who frequently expresses DoD thinking, has all but said the US needs to intervene.
* there are lots of good reasons not to get involved
At present, the rationale being presented to the public is that it wouldn’t do to give Al Qaeda free rein. And this is true. Given uninterrupted access to Mali’s uranium properties, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb would figure out how to make yellowcake and produce the material for a dirty bomb. And, of course, it would be a base to strike into Niger, where a number of other Tuaregs live and which is home to a well-developed nuclear industry essential to Europe’s energy security. But no one has mentioned the role of uranium in this story. After all, minus the uranium, the Maghreb is pretty much like Tattoine.
I see it as likely that the US will intervene because it’s unlikely that France can deal with the Salafis, much less the Tuaregs; because US troops are coming free thanks to winding down Iraq and Afghanistan; because Niger’s uranium is both crucial to Europe’s energy security; and because keeping the Salafis away from uranium over the longer period is critical.
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