Both a Mali expert and a confidential UN report project that every plausible scenario regarding the turmoil in Mali will turn out poorly.Al-Qaeda-backed rebels are already running a drug trafficking and ransom empire in the northern two-thirds of the country while the Malian military established yet another new government after dissolving it last week.
Dr. Jeremy Swift, an Africa researcher and expert on pastoral Tuareg in Mali, detailed four possible Mali developments to the Epoch Times and concluded that all of them “lead to a massive humanitarian crisis.”
1) The Malian army invades the north by itself. Outcome: Success would be unlikely given the Malian military’s limited capacity.
2) Mali and minimal foreign help could take the cities of Gurma and Timbuktu. Outcome: A stalemate, give that those cities are in the centre of the country and foreign jihadists are flooding the north.
3) The Malian army invades the north and gets routed. Outcome: International forces forced to come to the rescue.
“The third option is possible, but unlikely, although that is the direction events are moving,” Swift said. “International supporters will try to talk Mali out of this, but may fail.”
4) Mali could wait for full international backing, train its troops and set up a well-planned international operation to reclaim the north. Outcome: The jihadists are ousted, but the scenario is improbable given who is in power.
“Scenario four is the most desirable, but seems unlikely as long as Captain Amadou Sanogo[, who led the military coup in March,] and the southern nationalists are in power,” Swift said.
Mark Doyle of BBC obtained key sections of a confidential United Nations report on Mali laid out four plausible scenarios — status quo, intervention, internal rifts and Islamists attack south — and each projected outcome is at least as bad as the last.
1) Progressive deterioration of the current status quo with negotiations between the north and south breaking down. Outcome: Criminality and insecurity persist.
2) The Malian army and troops from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) invade northern Mali. Outcome: The destruction and looting of public institutions while farmland crops are also destroyed.
3) The Malian army and government fall apart. Outcome: Borders are closed, aid programs are suspended and the economy is frozen — leading to shortages of fuel and other goods.
4) The Islamists attack the south. Outcome: The UN’s worst case scenario, which is the application of Sharia spreads along with an increase in illegal arms dealing, drug smuggling and people trafficking.
The best case scenario? A negotiated settlement between the Islamists and the Tuaregs they overthrew in the north as well as a deal between the Malian army and the government it overthrew in the south.
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