January 22, 2013

Mali: The Big Picture

I recently found this article written by anthropologist Bruce Whitehouse who lived and worked in Bamako for five years as a Fulbright scholar.  Bruce hits it on the head with his point by point analysis of Western intervention in Mali.  The reality is that there really is no strategic value of Mali to the United States and Europe.  The only relevance that the country has to Western powers is in the context of post-war consolidations of power in the aftermath of the Gaddafi regime.  The Sahel could potentially become a belt of terrorism stretching across Africa where nation states are weak and terrorists can live in relative safety, just as both Gaddafi and the late Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens suspected might happen. -Jack

Behind Mali’s conflict: myths, realities & unknowns

Since the French military intervention in Mali, known as Operation Serval, began last week, the internet has been buzzing with talk about its motives. Is France really only trying to contain a terrorist threat, as it claims? Or do major world powers have other, more sinister interests at stake? At its root, what is the conflict in Mali about?


or Log In


About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

To comment on this article please join/login. Here's a sample of the comments on this post.

  • JackMurphyRGR

    @IzzyDespliegue Haha, that was Uganda...

  • ConsummateCanuck

    Great quick video from a NatGeo writer outlining why the Mali crisis has gotten to where it is today http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/culture-places-news/mali-crisis-gwin2-vin

  • SEAN SPOONTS

    @JackMurphyRGR @SEAN SPOONTS I should think that our involvement came about because of aerial surveillance info.

  • IzzyDespliegue

    I wish someone would review the doctrine of Island Hopping and apply it to Africa. Besides, you control from the center. I just viewed Mali as some price paid for further access.

  • SEAN SPOONTS

    @JackMurphyRGR @dmalert @ColonelProp Various terror groups too.