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Tag Archive: Mali


A museum guard with boxes of ancient manuscripts partially damaged by Islamists in Timbuktu in January. Zoom

REUTERS

A museum guard with boxes of ancient manuscripts partially damaged by Islamists in Timbuktu in January.

More than 80 percent of Timbuktu’s priceless manuscripts were smuggled out of the ancient city before Islamists began to attack its cultural heritage, SPIEGEL has learned. Many were driven by car to the Malian capital of Bamako.

Far more of Timbuktu’s priceless ancient manuscripts were saved from Islamist attacks than previosly thought, according to information from the German Foreign Ministry.

 

ANZEIGE

More than 200,000 of the documents, or about 80 percent of them, were smuggled to safety, says the ministry, which aided in the operation.

The ministry said many of the manuscripts, some of which date back to the 13th century, were driven out of Timbuktu in private vehicles and taken to the Malian capital, Bamako. Some of them were hidden under lettuce and fruit in an operation led by the head of the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library, Abdel Kader Haidara.

The German embassy paid for the fuel and procured archival boxes to store 4,000 of the manuscripts. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the priority now was to catalogue the manuscripts and preserve them for posterity.

“We are ready to support the reconstruction of the library in Timbuktu,” said Westerwelle.

 

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Malian refugee children sit on December 7, 2012 under a tent that serves as a classroom in the Goudebou refugee camp, some 20 kilometers from the northwestern Bukinabe city of Dori.

Malian refugee children sit on December 7, 2012 under a tent that serves as a classroom in the Goudebou refugee camp, some 20 kilometers from the northwestern Bukinabe city of Dori.
Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:33AM GMT
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the French-led war in Mali has worsened the educational situation of children in the West African country.

On January 11, France launched a war on Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of the north of the African nation. The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have voiced support for the move.

“Many teachers have failed to return to the north and already overcrowded schools in the south cannot cope with the influx of displaced students from the north,” UNICEF said in a statement on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Francoise Ackermans, UNICEF Representative in Mali added that “When a teacher is afraid to teach and when a student is afraid to go to school, the whole education is at risk.”

This comes as Malian Education Minister Bocar Moussa Diarra said only one on three schools in northern Mali is working.

Published on Jan 31, 2013

http://www.euronews.com/ Foreign Ministers in Brussels have continued talks about the direction of EU policy.

The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, critised human rights’ violations in Mali. She confirmed that the EU’s military training mission in the country would begin in February.

There were disagreements over proposals by France and Britain to ease the European arms embarbo against Syria.

Responding to concerns, Ashton confirmed that the EU would not be sending any weapons.

“Nobody was talking about shipping weapons today. What will happen at the next meeting as I said is first of all it will be absolute clarity about what is and is not allowed under the embargo.”

She went on to say: “There will be a discussion about what is being said to us by people in Syria and especially the opposition groups. And thirdly where member states wish to move if they wish to move at all either to put the embargo back as it is or to make additions to it or whatever.”

At the next meeting in February, when the embargo will expire, foreign ministers will try to establish how they can esure weapons don’t end up in the hands of the Syrian goverment or jihadists.

Michael Kelley
Business Insider
Fri, 25 Jan 2013 11:12 CST

© informationclearinghouse.info

On Wednesday Russia blamed Western countries for creating the current turmoil in Africa by arming Libyan rebels, Timothy Heritage and Gabriela Baczynska of Reuters report.

Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the [same] people who … our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference.

The toppling of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi led to “perhaps the greatest proliferation of weapons of war from any modern conflict,” Emergency Director of Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert told The Telegraph.

Those weapons stockpiles were raided by both sides, and both sides had connections with radical militants.

 

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January 21, 2013
By Staff, Associated Press
Mideast Saudi Arabia Arab Economic SummitEgyptian President Mohammed Morsi attends the third session of the Arab Economic Summit, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Saudi Arabia is hosting the Arab Economic Summit on January 21 and 22. (AP Photo)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Egypt’s Islamist president on Monday stated his opposition to France’s military intervention in Mali, saying its actions there would create a “new conflict hotspot” that separates the Arab north from its African neighbors to the south.

Addressing the opening session of an Arab economic summit in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Morsi also declared his support for Algeria against threats to its security — a reference to the takeover by Islamic militants of a gas complex last week in that nation’s remote southeast. Thirty-eight hostages and 29 militants died in the attack.

The Masked Brigade, the group that claims to have masterminded the takeover, has warned of more such attacks against any country backing France’s involvement in Mali. French forces there are trying to help stop an advance by Islamic extremists.

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Photo Gallery: Ex-Partner of Germany Now Leads Malian Islamists

Photos
REUTERS

The man at the center of the fight against Islamists in northern Mali has an unexpected history with Germany. In 2003 he was crucial in facilitating a ransom payment to secure the release of German tourists held hostage in Algeria.

The Tuareg is a brawny man with a jet-black beard, and on the few occasions when he smiles, he seems almost gentle. He was once merely the leader of the Ifora tribe, who live in sandstone mountains in the Sahara Desert. But now the French government views Iyad Ag Ghaly as one of the greatest enemies of the West.

 

ANZEIGE

Today Ag Ghaly heads the largest Islamist group in Mali, Ansar Dine, and its roughly 1,500 fighters. His men now control about 60 percent of the country. Since last week, the French army has been fighting the Islamists with bombers, helicopters and ground troops. Berlin is assisting the French by providing transport aircraft.

The Germans are familiar with Ag Ghaly from his days as a partner to the Berlin government. In 2003, he helped negotiate the payment of ransom money to secure the release of a group of kidnapped tourists in the Sahara, 10 of them Germans.

A Brutal Brand of Sharia Law

Ag Ghaly was not an Islamist at the time, nor did he have the reputation of being particularly religious. But under pressure from two competing groups, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the break-off Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), each of which has up to 500 fighters, Ag Ghaly also turned to religion about a year ago. He has introduced a brutal brand of Sharia law in the regions held by Ansar Dine, and he now gives fiery speeches against infidels.

 

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The Geopolitical Reordering of Africa: US Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France “Comes to the Rescue”

Global Research,

africa2

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.

As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

 

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French Mission in Mali ‘Is Not Without Risk’

Photo Gallery: The French Move into Mali

Photos
AP/Laure-Anne Maucorps, ECPAD

The German government on Monday unexpectedly offered Paris concrete support as French troops battle Islamist extremists in Mali. Though ruling out a combat role, Germany’s military will provide transport and medical assistance.

French President François Hollande’s rapid decision last week to take an active role in preventing Islamist fighters from pushing into southern Mali caught the international community off guard. Now, however, more and more countries are lining up to support the Paris offensive, which entered its fourth day on Monday.

ANZEIGE

And Germany, on Monday, unexpectedly became one of them. The government in Berlin has announced that it is prepared to provide cargo planes as well as medical personnel. Andreas Peschke, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, said that Germany did not want to “leave France alone in this difficult hour.”On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that several other allies, including the United States, Britain, Denmark and other countries in Europe, had offered assistance, though none have indicated a willingness to send troops and warplanes. The US has offered communications, transportation and intelligence support. Sources in Copenhagen on Monday told the German news agency DPA that Denmark was considering the provision of active support. Several African countries have pledged to send troops as well.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Sunday once again ruled out the deployment of German troops. “The involvement of a German fighting force is not up for debate,” he said. Still, Berlin has voiced support for the French offensive. “France has acted and that was decisive, correct and deserves our support,” German Defense Minster Thomas de Maizière said on German radio on Monday.

Germany also remains involved in a European Union effort to develop plans for a military training mission to Mali. On Sunday, Westerwelle said: “The development of plans for an EU training mission for the Malian military will continue. Whether and how Germany will participate will be decided when the plans are complete.”

 

 

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AFRICA NEWS

Mali PM resigns after being arrested by troops

by Staff Writers
Bamako (AFP)

 

“I, Cheick Modibo Diarra, resign with my government,” Diarra said in a brief speech given at the premises of national broadcaster ORTM which aired it.

He gave no reason for his decision.

The resignation plunges further into chaos a country already effectively split in two after armed Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda took over the north.

Looking drawn and speaking in solemn tones, Diarra thanked his supporters and expressed the hope that “the new team” would succeed in their task.

His message was delivered hours after a source in his entourage said the prime minister had been arrested by about “20 soldiers who came from Kati”, a military barracks outside Bamako and headquarters of the former putschists.

“They said Captain Sanogo sent them to arrest him,” he added.

A security source confirmed the information.

Diarra, an astrophysicist who has worked on several NASA space programmes and served as Microsoft chairman for Africa, was due to leave for Paris on Monday for a medical check-up.

He cancelled plans to head to the airport when he learned his baggage had been taken off the plane meant to take him to France.

The entourage source said Diarra had recorded a short message which was to be broadcast on state television, but soldiers went to the broadcaster’s headquarters to confiscate the tape.

Diarra was named as prime minister in an interim government just weeks after a disastrous March coup that plunged the once stable democracy into a crisis which has seen over half its territory seized by the hardline Islamists.

The 60-year-old is a staunch advocate of plans to send in a west African intervention force to drive out the extremists, who are running the zone according to their brutal interpretation of sharia Islamic law.

Citizens have been flogged, had their hands amputated and been stoned to death as punishments for transgressions.

Such foreign intervention is fiercely opposed by Sanogo.

The previously unknown Sanogo launched a coup on March 22 to oust President Amadou Toumani Toure’s government only six weeks before an election marking the end of his time in office.

The move came amid mounting anger by soldiers at their rout by Tuareg separatists, who were slowly making headway in a fresh rebellion to conquer the north and declare independence for a homeland which they call Azawad.

The coup only made it easier for the rebels and their Islamist allies to seize control of an area larger than France.

However the unlikely alliance between the secular separatists and Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists quickly crumbled and the Tuareg were driven out of key positions, leaving the vast arid zone in the hands of extremists.

West African nations are pressing hard for the United Nations Security Council to approve a French-backed plan for military intervention. Germany and the United States have offered training and logistical support.

Ivory Coast Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby urged the UN Security Council on Monday to approve “in the coming days” an international force to confront extremist groups in northern Mali.

Western powers fear the north could become a new sanctuary for terrorist groups.

European Union foreign ministers Monday approved plans to deploy an EU military training mission in Mali to help the government regain control of the north from the Islamist rebels.

But misgivings are rife over the plan to send in 3,300 west African troops. Many of Mali’s neighbours still prefer a negotiated solution and both the UN and US have urged caution.

US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice last week argued that the west African troops would be ill-suited for the desert battle against groups such as Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its offshoot the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).

The US wants more details on the capabilities of the force to achieve its objective, the cost of the mission, logistical needs and plan to minimise impacts on civilian security and the humanitarian situation.

Earth Watch Report  –  Seismic Activity

GSN Stations

These data update automatically every 30 minutes. Last update: November 16, 2012 13:19:04 UTC

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