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Mali Timeline…Some Key Dates

December 18, 2013
Mali - war zones...April 2012

Mali – war zones…April 2012

Mali’s Post Independence History Differs Some From other Former French African Colonies

1960 – Mali achieves independence. Its first president, Modibo Keita was a fervent promoter of African unity in the early post-colonial period (1960s), but the divergent view of how African unity might proceed kept him from realizing his goal of an economically, socially and politically more unified continent.

– French military presence in Mali has a long, uneven history. After independence, under Keita’s leadership, French military bases in the country were closed.

– Economic difficulties grew over the course of the 1960s as a result of the meager resources available for development at the time. As a result he lost support

– In November, 1968 Keita was overthrown by a military coup led by General Moussa Traoré – with the support of France. Traoré instituted a harsh military dictatorship which prohibited all democratic expression and opposition.

1985 – Traoré signs a military cooperation agreement with Paris; but with clauses that limited both the size and scope the French military presence.

1991 – popular demonstrations grow – at one, the army fires on demonstrators killing 300. By the end of the year Traoré is overthrown by the military supported by many elements of the population.
– a transitional committee is created, headed by Colonel Amadou Tourmani Touré (known as ATT). Touré organized elections and in

1992 – a civilian, Alpha Oumar Konaré. Konaré is the only Malian president to retire (without being overthrown by a coup) after two terms in office in 2002.

1992 – a national pact between the Malian government in Bamako and the coordinating committee of Tuareg (Azawad) rebels is signed. France, as in Rwanda – sends a contingent of DAMI (Détachement d’assistance militaire) to Mali.
– this first detachment of DAMI is placed in Sévaré (near Mohti) – in between the conflict zone between the rebels and the national government
– 2 French military officers trained to sections of 40 Malians in counter-insurgency tactics

late 1990s – military cooperation extended. 2 national administration schools founded (by French in Mali) – ENVER – now with increasing cooperation from the United States – now getting involved under the cover of the struggle against terrorism

2002 – Amadou Tourmani Touré returns on the scene and wins elections. He refuses to sign different economic and military accords pressed on him by Paris. It suggests that he never loses his contact with the popular forces in his country. He says close to the very active “Association des Maliens Expulsés.”
November, 2002 – the US State Department announced that officials from its Office of Counterterrorism had visited Mali and other West African countries to brief governments on the Pan Sahel Initiative

– although he publicly stated that he would be willing to step down after two terms. Unfortunately, his regime was also characterized by extensive corruption with those close to power centers implicated. His rule was also characterized by a history of intimidation and repression of journalists and trade union leaders.

– his 2007 re-election campaign was marked by extensive election fraud, and the result – that he had achieved some 71.20% of the vote was viewed with no small amount of cynicism.
– finally the economic situation in the country was terrible. Mali remained one of the world’s poorest countries, eroded by endemic corruption and incapable of providing even the most basic human services in spite of mineral wealth which made Mali one of the principle gold-producers of the region.

– in the end, Touré had ruled Mali as a French puppet since 2002 and had previously been accused of drug dealing with war lords.

2007 – US military “assists” the Malian army in countering a Tuareg revolt led by Ag Bahanga.

2007 – 2008Annual Flintlock Exercises take place in Mali; see Wikileaks Cable of meeting between US Congressman Jim Marshall and Touré

2010 – French hostages seized. France forms a 250 man Malian special forces unit; France asks Mali for “temporary” base rights to fight Islamic terrorism; fearing Islamic retaliation, Amadou Tourmani Touré refuses. As a result,. French special forces are beefed up in Niamey, Niger.
– Amadou Tourmani Touré’s refusal to permit a French military presence is probably a key element in France’s lack of response to his being overthrown in a military coup. France did nothing to prevent it.

2012 – the MNLA (Azawad National Liberation Movement) wages war against the central government. Government engages in a half-hearted effort to stem the northern rebellion which grows in scope. It is also a failure for the U.S. military who had trained the Malian military for just such a possibility. Despite the training, Malian soldiers were poorly trained and badly equipped, with many having gone hungry.

March, 2012 – generals of Mali’s military (green berets) overthrew Amadou Tourmani Touré, inaugurating the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State. The coup was led by Captain Amadou Aya Sanago, who had received six training military missions in the United States. The military led coup was supported by a mass, popular movement called the March 22 Movement led by left-wing deputy Dr. Oumar Mariko.– Many supporters of the coup had demonstrated in support of Muammar Khadaffi during the Libyan War of 2011; they wanted a strong Malian state to defeat what they considered to be a “French conspiracy” to destabilize and re-colonize the mineral rich country, by using jihadist terrorism as a pretext for intervention.

– reaction of the international community to the popularly supported Malian coup was swift and a la Iran – typical. The coup was condemned and sanctions were imposed on Mali; the Community of West African States – ECOWAS, threatened to invade to “restore democracy”.

– this international pressure stymied the efforts of the Malian military to gain control of the situation in the Northern territories. The sanctions halso helped precipitate a humanitarian crisis as Malian goods could not be transported from ports in the Ivory Coast and Guinea.

– all this weakened the country’s defenses enabling the terrorists to capture village after village. In spite of the fact that the international community was fully aware of the advances of the terrorists, it expressed more concern about the “restoration of democracy” than stopping the terrorist advance

– the generals finally ceded to international pressure and agreed to nominate Diocounda Traore – (who has strong ties to NATO) – as interim president. It is Traore who would provide the pretext for the French intervention in a letter sent to the United Nations.

– April 6, 2012 – Tuareg rebels in N. Mali declare independence; announce intention to form a democratic state in Azawad.

January 2013 – French-led military intervention begins.

July 20, 2013 – Malian presidential elections take place. – 27 candidates run for office; reports of widespread fraud and irregularities with thousands of NINA (Numero d’identité nationale) voter cards not being delivered to voters. The electoral lists were the same asin 2009, excluding some 300,000 Malians who had come of age. Only 300 vote cards had been distributed to the 730,000 refugees in camps in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Algeria and Niger. Burkina Faso’s 50,000 Malian refugees received only 30 NINA cards

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