In the wake of the French offensive in Mali, the Malian army, while not notably useful in fighting other soldiers, is now showing its true vocation by targeting civilians of its ethnoracial enemies for summary execution.
Reports suggesting that the mainly black African Malian army, drawn largely from the south, has targeted Arabs and ethnic Tuaregs from the north expose a racial aspect to the war here which has been hidden by the emphasis on western troops fighting a war against Islamist insurgents, the BBC’s Mark Doyle in Mali says. (BBC)
Well done France!
Meanwhile, the deep background:
- we are seeing a fight between pastoralists (from the arid North) and sedentary farmers (from the watered South) of the kind Ibn Khaldun had described;
- we are also seeing a fight between Tuareg people originally from the Mahgreb (so supra-Saharan) and sub-Saharan peoples.
These are the latest iteration of an ancient conflict.
The West African force that is supposed to take over from France will of course be composed of the ethnic allies of the Southerners. Expect it to side with them.
Instead of making a fuss about Islamists, and ending up causing more trouble, it would be salutary if the West thought more carefully about how separation could solve such ethnoracial conflicts.