Hillary in Algeria to discuss military invasion of Mali
The best chance for breaking the extremists’ hold on northern Mali may be persuading the region’s moderate Tuareg people to reconcile with the military-controlled South of the country.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria this week seeking the country’s support for a West African force to help Mali’s military regain control of the north. And her talks with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika were dominated by the issue of how to deal with the terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists who took control of more than two-thirds of Mali after a coup toppled the government in Bamako last March.
Since then, the extremists have allowed the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, to extend its already-considerable reach throughout the Sahel region.
Secretary Clinton says AQIM is working with other extremists to undermine democratic transitions in North Africa. She adds that the group was part of the attack on the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in September.
One possible approach to countering the extremists and their terrorist allies came up during Secretary Clinton’s meeting with Mr. Bouteflika — that Algeria might intercede with the Tuareg people of northern Mali, many of whom have allied themselves with the extremists. The idea was that without help from the Tuaregs, the extremists would lose their support, allowing Bamako to re-establish its control of the north.