Military coup in Mali: what comes next?
In Mali, the military has ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. The head of state, who faces accusations of corruption and a lack of security, announced his resignation. The spokesman for the soldiers who carried out the coup has said that new elections will be held as soon as possible. Mali's armed forces also rely on the support of troops from France, Germany and the UN, who had hoped that supporting the country's military would give them more control over Islamist forces in the north of the country.
Europe's Sahel strategy isn't working
The coup highlights Europe's failure in the war on terror in the region, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:
“The Europeans and their allies wanted to solve a conflict in this corner of the world militarily, but saw the number of attacks rise instead. ... The Sahel strategy never involved the 'holistic approach' that experts and aid officials had called for. German scholars even said it 'exacerbated the conflict': training poorly equipped and partly corrupt armies one the one hand and seeking to win over 'hearts and minds' according to the Afghan model on the other had not worked, they argued. The fact that the state of Mali has now had to capitulate to parts of the military and that someone with a weapon in their hand is grasping for power is proof of this.”
Intermezzo on the road to new elections
It is in no one's interest for the military to be in charge for more than a brief interval, Yeni Akit comments:
“Will it even be possible for those who carried out the coup to keep political events under control and build up a stable leadership? As we have seen, the population's response has been muted. The goal of the coup is not so much for soldiers to take over leadership, but rather to topple an unpopular government and hold elections as soon as possible. Foreign powers such as the UN and the African Union, but also countries interested in Mali, have not welcomed the coup, demanding that the civil leadership be freed at once.”
Opposition not controlled by Saudi Arabia
The fear that radical Islam could prevail in Mail, which is widespread in Europe, is exaggerated, comments anthropologist Jean-Loup Amselle in Le Monde:
“The strong popular opposition that exists especially in Bamako and other major cities is rooted in a deeply Muslim population that follows [Imam] Mahmoud Dicko, since he and his movement embody a truly Malian Islam, very different from the Western and especially French idées fixes that present its leader as dependent on Saudi Arabia. The future will tell whether this revolution can continue and bring about the changes the population yearns for.”