Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Western Africa

Western Africa, Rep. of Mali, Azawat, South Sahara Al Qaeda…What’s going on?

What of the Niger River? Looking at the map of western Africa (former French colonial region and still under French economic dominion), the Niger River starts on the borders of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and progress northward, crosses Bamako (capital of rep. of Mali), Segou, Tombouctou, Gao, and slant down toward Menaka (splitting  Mali in half).

And the river resumes its descent to the State of Niger, all the way to Nigeria and flows into the Delta in Nigeria (the Niger Delta, rich in oil production, particularly offshore).

The recent news reveal that the Tuareg independentists, men wearing “blue”, (planning for an independent Azawat State in north Mali) have captured the main towns and cities in north Mali, north of the Niger River, such as Gao, Kidal, Menaka

And that the Tuareg Islamic extremists and others from Mauritania and especially from Algeria (wrapped under the veil of Al Qaeda) have captured the historic city of Tombouctou and starting the process of imposing Islamic Sharia (gone the good time of music, dance and bare women faces…)

Minor officers in the army of Mali grabbed on the excuse of the army failure to confronting the advances of the militias up north by carrying on a military coup d’etat.

No States in Africa was pleased with this sudden coup and the rebellious officers had to bow down and promise to restitute power to the civilians.  The head of the parliament of Mali is to take over as interim President in order to organize the election in its due time by the end of Mai.

Azawat State?  

This desert region would constitute 65% of the area of Mali and populated with only 10% of the total of 14 million citizens.

The Tuareg tribes are estimated to be about 3 million people and criss-crossing a desert the size of Europe, sending caravans from and to Mauritania, Algeria, Libya, Niger, Tchad, and even to Sudan (the Darfur region)

What’s the story?

After the disintegration of Qadhafi Libya, around 400 veteran Tuareg soldiers had to return “Home”, and Algeria was happy to let its radical Islamists cross the border to north Mali (Algeria military was in constant battle with the Algerian Islamists for three decades after they won the election and the military refused to acknowledge the radical Islamists “democratic” victory).

What do you expect soldiers and people carrying arms to do in a desert region that no investments were done in schools, dispensary, hospitals, or any kind of infrastructure…?

The successive central governments of the poor State of Mali in natural resources had invested in the most populous region, the south, and let the vast north goes to hell…

The Tuareg were demanding investment in their region for the last 5 decades, but France failed to contribute any major assistance…

First, the Tuareg started taking hostages, European NGO and tourists, and it was a lucrative and brisk business…

After hell broke loose, the region lacked in tourists and in any financial aid, and conquering power was at hand…

Second, there are no military alternatives in these vast desert region…at most a few drone attacks, just to implicitly tell the rebels that the de-facto on the ground status will not be checked, but negotiations are needed that would satisfy Europe and the US economic future interest in oil and rare mineral exploitation and production.

(The later French military intervention didn’t bring tourists, safety and security. In fact, the new elected President of Mali didn’t dare yet visit the northern parts. And the virulent factions have spread and disseminated eastward toward northern Nigeria (Boko Haram connections), Cameroun, and Central Africa)

Third, most Western Africa Sates have artificial borders drawn by France, Spain and Italy, and the people on the borders come and go at will.

For example, Mali has an 800-kilometre border with Mauritania, and about 1,200 kilometres with Algeria, and as many with Niger...

Time to let minority people live in peace and enjoy their own language and life-style: A few million can go a long way in peace time, for basic necessity of survival…and basic preventive health care…

Note 1: This week, Jan. 12, 2013, France decided to come to the “rescue” of the government and army of Mali as the extremist jihadists advanced and captured a strategic city close to Mobti (key city separating north from south mali).

France is bombing the extremist jihadists and willing to send in 2,500 troops to aid the West African States military contingents.

Fact is, unless serious resources are secured to north Mali and political reforms are done in Mali, all of west Africa is liable to fall to the extremist Moslem jihadists.

Note 2: Take a look at this map of where resources are coming from to help France prosecute its war in north Mali. Is it a WW3 on Moslem Jihadists?

Boat immigrants: Scapegoat in European political discourse?

Thousands of “illegal” immigrants are trying to reach the Western European “heaven” for various reasons.

They are mostly young people capable of confronting the hellish hardship trips through deserts, closed trucks, locked up compartments, open boats crossing in open seas, for many months in desperate human conditions.

Many of these wretched people die in their attempts to flee their country, society, political instability, and famine for the chimeric hope of a better alternative life that fast communication, internet, and satellite cables are dangling in front of their mesmerized eyes.

French President Sarkozy has jumped in the band wagon using the case of immigrants for short-term political gains and never minding if the constitution of Republic of France is trampled “All citizens are equal before the laws“:

Sarkozy is ready to remove French citizenship to any French immigrants (of non-French parents) if his judiciary record is not satisfactory.  Moslems are particularly targeted: The minister of the interior focused on polygamy and the custom of removing female clitoris.

Most dailies in the US, Germany, Spain, the European Union agency for human rights, and African States of former French colonies have been lambasting France policies as anathema to the concept of Republics: “How are we to be able to discriminate among, citizen, legal immigrant, and “illegal” immigrants if nationality is no longer a stable right?”

Sarkozy is targeting also the European minority of Rom (gypsy or Tzigane) fleeing Romania and Bulgaria to France; many of their camps have been dismantled. It is to be noted that Sarkozy is an immigrant, his parents are immigrants, and his new wife is Italian.

Every year, around 700 new boat immigrants land ashore the tiny island of Malta (part of the EU) coming mostly from Libya.  Their prime objective is to reaching a Western Europe State such as Italy, Spain, or France; but these States don’t want of them and Malta has to arrange to keep them for one year is various types of refugee camps.

Immigrants from eastern Africa States (such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya…) enjoy easier and lenient standards to obtaining “humanitarian” immigrant status: they get work permit for one year and are displaced to “free” camps where they can get out and seek work. They are allocated a stipend of about $150 per month with restrictions:

First, you fail to return to assigned camp three times in a week and the stipend is cancelled;

Second, you fail to show up on roll call and your allowance is reduced by $40;

Third, you get a steady job but if you are fired later on then, your stipend is no longer valid.

Thus, you better not take that change of finding a steady job.  Anyway, individual and small entrepreneur in Malta prefer to hire” immigrants with no work permit” in order to scalp them and not pay them for work done.

Open boat immigrants from western Africa States (such as Mauritania, Tchad, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Fasso, Niger..) have hard time obtaining the humanitarian status and are forced to live in supervised camps.

Citizens of Malta feel that the boat immigrants are time bombs to their internal security if Europe insists on closing its doors.

The famished and desperate immigrants have a certain level of containing their rage and violent activities and mafia type commerce might spread in the tiny island. (To be continued)


Sunday, July 16, 2006

 Diary of the war in Lebanon

This morning, I was visiting my aunt Montaha and she told me that my cousin Zouzou (Joseph) is suffering and that her daughter Joelle, an administrative nurse, was attending to him.  I walked down to check on him and it turned out that he had his regular bouts of kidney stone movements, an ailment that he acquired in his extended stay in Western Africa.  Joseph’s sister Samira was there too and there was nothing to do except wait for Monday to sending Joseph to a hospital, if he failed to piss until then.

Zouzou was in real pain and could get no relief except when sitting in the john.  In the afternoon, Joseph called me up inquiring whether our basement is for rent.  I did not recognize his voice at first and asked “who is speaking?”.  He replied angrily: “I am your cousin Zouzou, what’s wrong with you?”  I replied that I did not know that he was in shape to even talk.  He said that he was fine now.  I told him that we might be using the basement as a shelter for emergencies.

Actually, our basement was mainly reduced as a depot for my sister’s family furniture and clothes surpluses:  She cannot stand to be encumbered in her neat flat.  In addition, my nephew William is using the living room in the basement as his sleeping quarter:  He realized that studying and sleeping in the attic is not conducive to studying.

Besides, I have been using the eastern room as my study room for almost four years now.

It turned out that my aunt rented her upper floor because her son’s family was no longer coming to Lebanon this summer because of the war.

Note:  There is an interesting byproduct of Montaha renting her upper floor.  Khaled, the son of Montaha’s daughter Joelle, fell in love with the daughter (named Joelle too) of the woman renting the floor.  They are now engaged to be married soon.  They both graduated and are working.




February 2023

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