Mercury Rising 鳯女

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US claims authorization to intervene in Mali

Posted by Charles II on January 28, 2013

Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy:

1) The Obama Administration has apparently made a legal determination that the conflict in Mali is covered under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Most of the reservations about whether President Obama has the legal authority to engage in military operations in Mali were resolved, the New York Times reports, after it was determined that the main targets were linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. This means that the Administration is using the same legal authority to intervene that it is using to conduct drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, which means that the Administration could conduct drone strikes in Mali under this interpretation of the 2001 AUMF.

But the degree to which President Obama wants to get involved in Mali is still an open question, the Times says….Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the Pentagon’s Africa Command, has said, “Realistically, probably the best you can get is containment and disruption so that Al Qaeda is no longer able to control territory.”

I haven’t found the NYT article and it’s behind a paywall. But if we have the right to intervene and the French are unable to actually end the conflict, what is likely to happen?


8 Responses to “US claims authorization to intervene in Mali”

  1. And this morning I saw that Obama’s considering intervening in Syria.

    Chomsky wept.

  2. onyxpnina said


    We don’t need to do this. What, has the Domino Theory been revived? If they take Mali, Nigeria will fall, then all of Africa? Let the French deal with it.

    • Charles II said

      I made the case earlier for why the West views this godforsaken area as strategically important. Niger is France’s main source of yellowcake, and France (and therefore Europe as a whole) is heavily dependent on yellowcake for energy.

      They have been doing exploration for the same in Mali, and it’s essentially certain that it’s there in commercially-attractive quantities. It wouldn’t do to have a terrorist organization in control of uranium-rich territory for a long time, because they might be able to build a dirty bomb. But in the shorter term, the possibility of the Tuareg rebellion spreading across the border into Niger is a consideration. That could impact the world economy in short order.

      The larger problem is really the Malian government, which collapsed thanks to a coup run by…who else?… a US-trained general. It has become a failed state in the sense that people have lost confidence that government can be done by the rule of law.

      The US is caught in the classic dilemma of imperial overstretch. It has entangling alliances with almost everyone, so that whatever happens, it is obligated to intervene.

      • jo6pac said

        Here’s something that caught my eye the other day in how much gold Mali produces, this company is there but if you go to projects page it hasn’t been updated lately. The usa was looking for a drone base in the region also so I guess all of the happy talk from the potus wash just that. Business as usual.

        Thanks Dickeylee, Bolivia has Lithium and the last thing corp. Amerika wants to do is pay for it and make sure they don’t mess up the place so nothing can live there;)

      • Charles II said

        Legend Gold is southern Mali, so outside the Tuareg region. But, yes, gold and oil are part of the mix of natural resources that western interests would like to control.

  3. Dickeylee said

    Add Bolivia to the list…

    Just wow.

  4. Stormcrow said

    Well, don’t start stocking up on canned goods just yet. :)

    This particular lot of Islamist idjits managed to piss off both the French and the Tuareg.

    Word is, they’re looking a bit shopworn these days.

    • Charles II said

      There are multiple groups of Tuaregs. Some are secular, some Islamist. So, the foreign jihadis were always unpopular with the seculars. The jihadis are melting away, waiting for a better day to fight. The Malian troops are executing people in reprisals, and are building up enemies at a rapid rate.

      The problem is that even if the jihadis leave, the Tuaregs want to see the backside of the southern Malians (and Tuaregs in Niger aren’t happy with their government). There is no effective government in the south of Mali. So there’s no stability.

      As in Iraq, the jihadis are a symptom, not the primary problem. If the French become occupiers and try to impose the southerners, the secular Tuaregs will make their peace with the jihadis. Historically the French set up this antagonistic system in order to keep Mali in a perpetual state of instability. Now they are reaping the harvest.

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