Kofi Annan Calls Mali “Collateral Damage” of Libya

Former Secretary-General of the
United Nations Kofi Annan has said that
Mali is “collateral damage” of the conflict in Libya: 

Mali became, if I may put it this way, collateral damage of
Libya. Quite a lot of the soldiers, Malian soldiers working and
fighting for Gaddafi went back home with their heavy weapons and
their training. There was already a revolution and rebellion in the
north by the Tuareg group and of course Ansar Dine, the Islamist
group, also joined in. When these people returned with their heavy
weapons some of the Malian troops of the same tribe also teamed up
with them.

The situation in Mali is only the latest lesson in unintended
consequences of military interventions. NATO intervened in Libya to
unseat Gaddafi, which contributed to Mali’s instability. The
worsening situation in the northern Mali prompted France (with
other nations
) to intervene, which in turn has motivated
terrorists to take
at an Algerian gas field.

As it stands the French and Malian militaries have been
successful in pushing back the Al Qaeda-linked militants who had
been advancing south. The Malian army has retaken the central town
and the
remain confident that the intervention is going well.

Nigerian troops
are also joining the intervention, further
adding to the catalogue of developments for the Al Qaeda-linked
militants to worry about. 

While it might well be the case that the French-led intervention
in Mali will push Al Qaeda-linked militants out of northern Mali it
is very difficult to predict what the effect of the conflict will
be on Mali’s neighbors or mainland Europe. All military concerns
aside, Mali’s neighbors will soon be dealing with hundreds of
thousands of
Malian refugees
. In Europe, there are justified concerns over
potential terrorist reprisals, a French
warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks in France
before the intervention began, and the
has warned of “disastrous” consequences.

U.S. officials had said that support for the French-led
intervention would be limited. However, the U.S. now looks
increasingly likely
to get more involved
in the region due to the hostage situation
at the gas field in Algeria, where Americans have been taken
hostage. It was
recently reported
that the Al Qaeda-linked group responsible
for taking the Algerian gas field is offering to free two America
hostages if some terrorists jailed in the U.S. are freed.