War against the Tuareg in northern Mali is looming. Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso agreed to send 3,300 troops to northern Mali. A stamp of approval has come from Ecowas and the African Union. (Hardly necessary, since legally any intervention will be at the request of Mali. But perhaps Nigeria et al are hoping to be paid for going to this trouble.) France is making vague promises of logistical support – but we’ll see if it is enough to provide mobility in a huge desert region. Not much will be accomplished if the troops only sit still. EU countries may send instructors to train the Bamako army, currently incapable of fighting. But whether some instruction will be sufficient to turn it into a war-winning force remains to be seen.
Why so much effort to prop up a failed state? It looks like a short term fix that will itself fail in the long run. Another failed state … and soon another failed state-building?