Writings Elsewhere on Mali and Senegal

I’m going to prolong my break from blogging until March 1, but in the meantime I’ve written a few pieces on Mali and Senegal that may interest readers:

  • Al Jazeera Center for Studies (with my colleague Freedom C. Onuoha): “Franco-African Intervention in Mali & Security Issues.”
  • Stability: “The Disintegration of a ‘Model African Democracy’.”
  • World Politics Review: “Senegal’s Sall Must Turn Political Dominance into Effective Governance.”

Comments welcome. Feel free also to treat this as an open thread for recent news from the Sahel.

4 thoughts on “Writings Elsewhere on Mali and Senegal

  1. You are missed! Hope you are at least relaxing.

    Thank you for posting your other writing on different sites. Is there a way on this website to look at all your past writings on other websites (your internet bibliography)?

  2. Urban guerrilla violence seems like the worst option to choose. Across the planet urban guerrillas have done very poorly. Even in Algeria during the war with France the guerrillas made probably their biggest strategic error in trying to hold Algiers.

  3. Alex,

    Excellent write up, but you are neglecting the elephant in the room (I understand, one has to treat these matters carefully) – the elephant in the room is the artificial nature of the post-colonial African state.

    Everyone knows that Africa’s borders are arbitrarily defined, the legacy of colonial rule. Some African states have made progress in the long process of crafting a national identity. Some others have not and some others WILL NEVER.

    It is extremely important for us to understand what category nations like Mali and Congo DRC fall under. After all, fifty years is sufficient time to see the writing on the wall.

    I write as an African, with a thousand year old ethnic identity and a national identity. No one feels sentimental about his “national identity”, especially when that identity is forced, artificial and it represents fifty years of dysfunction and repression. Many people in Northern Mali feel that same way.

    Europeans had the “Peace of Westphalia” to decide their boundaries and set the terms in which competing ethnic groups will relate to each other. Africa had no such thing – and for fifty years we have maintained the fiction that a long dead European map maker could simply draw lines in the sand, and viola! a “diverse” state (like the United States) emerges.

    It is time to abandon that fiction, forever. Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, Congo DRC, South Sudan etc represent the birth pangs of “state formation” to me (Western analysts insist it is 100% “state failure”) – I disagree with them.

    The International Community will be forced to come to terms with Africa’s rapidly changing political realities and the severe limitations of the post-colonial African state. History will happen IRRESPECTIVE of what is written or said.

    In summary, a lot of what the international community is doing is “against the natural flow of history”, that is “nibbling around the edges”, not dealing with the heart of the matter.

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