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The Malian conundrum.

The latest episode of the Malian crisis looks like a quasi-coup carried out by the former -but still influential-military junta and its allies. The objective is most likely to prevent a direct ECOWAS military deployment in Mali, which would undermine the power base of Captain Sanogo and his associates.

The ex-junta and the political forces backing it have requested logistical and financial external help to fight the hardcore Islamist groups occupying the North, but are opposed to a full-scale foreign military intervention, an option preferred by deposed Prime Minister Cheick Mod-ibo Diarra.

While ECOWAS will not even be ready to confront the Islamists in the north before second quarter of this year, an optimistic scenario, the potential presence of foreign troops in southern Mali would probably change the balance of power on the ground. It is also possible that Prime Minister Diarra's alleged personal ambitions may have frustrated some segments of the security forces and civilian elite. In any case, this development suggests that a solution to the political and military impasse in Mali is unlikely to materialise in the short-term, especially given ECOWAS' lacklustre (effective) reaction to the continued turmoil in the West African country.

Samir Gadio, London, UK

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Title Annotation:Letters / Readers' views
Author:Gadio, Samir
Publication:New African
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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