Currently viewing the tag: "Mali"

Is Mali a failed state?

On December 27, 2012 By

So what does Mali tell us about the measurement of state fragility? I suspect it tells us something that practitioners of political crisis management have known for a while, which is that these indices don’t tell us anything useful.

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Putting Mali Together Again

On December 11, 2012 By

This essay appears on the website of  The New York Times, December 11, 2012 

MALI faces a deep crisis that demands a political strategy toward a long-term settlement. What’s on offer today, namely sending a multinational force to reoccupy the Malian Sahara and fight terrorists, while negotiating deals with the cannier rebel leaders, promises [...]

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The prospects in Mali are unremittingly gloomy. All talk is of military action, which is easy but ignores the facts that (i) the Malian army is not going to be in a fit state to fight anybody for a year or two; (ii) regional forces under ECOWAS are going to need a lot of local [...]

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Recent coups in Mali and Guinea-Bissau have caused quite widespread alarm, certainly in Africa and among Africa-watchers elsewhere.  In both Mali and Guinea-Bissau the existence of a lucrative cocaine trade is an element in the political equation.  Guinea-Bissau has confirmed its reputation of being a so-called ‘narco-state’, in which groups financed by the drug trade [...]

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A rising tide of discontent may not have caused the coup, but it helps explain why Malians, who have been steadfast supporters of democracy, have tolerated the military junta, even supported it. [...] When examining Mali’s current political crisis, we must carefully consider how ordinary Malians view the privatization of their lands, resources, and public companies by foreign enterprises. Indeed, unchecked neoliberal economic policies imposed from without threaten the viability of sustainable democratic institutions and the very social fabric that makes democracy work in the first place.

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In short, it remains to be seen to what extent the intentions and interests of the coup leaders represent or overlap with those of civil society. But let us not be fooled by the myth of “Mali as a flourishing democracy,” nor unduly over-dichotomize the proponents of democracy versus the forces of military autocracy. Did not democracy emerge through a military coup?

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