There are (at least) two different core assumptions at work in some of the pieces coming out now about the coup in Mali. One line of argument assumes that the coup was spontaneous, the other that it was planned. I think the arguments for its spontaneity are stronger, but more evidence will hopefully emerge and help resolve the question.
Africa for Investor Mouth looks at the coup in Mali and its effect on Randgold.
equity investors’ reaction to today’s events in mali sheds important insight on how traders respond to political risk, particularly across relatively shallow and unknown african markets. the principal point of reference among market participants was randgold’s experience in ivory coast, when it suspended operations during the dawn of the political standoff between gbagbo and ouattara in 2010/11. in my opinion, the risk perception for randgold was exaggerated today because of the faulty comparison between ivory coast and mali because many saw the two countries’ political economies as similar.
Now, what about the Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali? William Townsend argues, “Mali’s Coup Makes Tuareg Rebellion At Its Heart Harder To Resolve.” Peter Dorrie looks at how portrayals of the rebellion are starting to emphasize the role of the Islamist group Ancar Dine – even though the MNLA, as Dorrie rightly points out, remains “the main rebel group.” Emphasizing an “Islamist threat,” Dorrie continues, helps the African Union and others “delegitimize the political demands of the rebels, which are fed by generations of marginalization of the Tuareg community. Also, claiming to fight against Islamists has never hurt in getting military support from the USA.”
Aaron Zelin and Andrew Lebovich, “Assessing Al Qa’ida’s Presence in the New Libya.”
Amb. John Campbell sees little hope, for now, for more negotiations between the Nigerian government and the rebel sect Boko Haram.
The Economist‘s Baobab looks at the release of a British hostage after her captivity by Somali pirates, and frames the incident in larger questions of money, power, and strategy:
Joy for Mrs Tebbutt should not draw attention away from the plight of several hundred sailors and yachtsmen still being held captive by Somali pirates. Many are too poor to afford a ransom. A number have died of untreated illnesses and stress. African and European aid workers and several Western spies are also being held as human shields by the Shabab. Britain has shown more backbone than other countries in refusing to pay ransoms. But there is no evidence that the principled position is working. Ransoms, for people as well as ships, have risen rapidly in recent years. More kidnappings can be expected.
What are you reading today?