Second Straight Malian Coup with an American Training Link
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(August 21, 2020) — In another embarrassment for US training programs for international forces, this week’s coup in Mali found itself linked to the program. Col. Golta, the new dictator of Mali, graduated from US training courses.
That’s a problem for the US,. and photos of Golta were featured heavily on US military sites regarding the training operations, The military has so far avoided comment on the matter, though some media are reporting that the photographs were disappearing from the sites when the news started to break.
It looks bad, but also isn’t shocking. Mali’s last coup, in 2012, saw the exact same thing, with Captain Amadou Sanogo having been through six training missions with the US before the coup.
The number of coup leaders, war criminals, and general bad actors in the training program has raised concerns that the Pentagon is too heavily focused on efficiency and fostering relationships with Western military bureaucracies, without focus enough on respect for civilian governance and democracies.
World leaders condemn latest coup in Mali amid worry about extremists.
Pentagon Cuts Off Backing to Mali’s Military after Coup
(August 21, 2020) — The Pentagon has cut off assistance to Mali’s armed forces after a military takeover on Tuesday that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta from office. In a statement released Friday, the Department of Defense said it “strongly condemns the act of mutiny” and continues to monitor the situation.
The US has had a longstanding partnership with Mali in the campaign against terrorism since fighters linked to al-Qaeda took over major towns in the northern part of the country and implemented a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Now that effort has been suspended since the military coup that deposed the 75-year-old President Keïta.
“Until a thorough assessment is complete, there will be no further training or support to the Malian armed forces,” said Lt. Col. Anton T. Semelroth, a Department of Defense spokesman.
The junta behind the coup said President Keïta was being held at an army barracks for his own protection, according to the Associated Press.
All US military personnel in the country have been accounted for, Pentagon officials said.
“We are taking appropriate measures to ensure their continued safety,” Lt. Col. Semelroth said.
Col. Assimi Goita, who has emerged as the leader of the coup, has taken part in the annual Flintrock exercises organized by US Africa Command (AFRICOM) to help countries in the region fight extremists. The drills included training in basic professionalism, countering violent extremist organizations and the rule of law in armed conflict.
Part of the Flintlock training also included stressing the primacy of civilian authority, officials said.
“Thousands of military members from Africa and their partner nations have participated in these types of exercises and training to confront security threats in the region,” said Col. Christopher P. Karns, director of public affairs for AFRICOM.
Last year, Flintlock had 1,600 participants. US officials said they strongly condemn the mutiny in Mali.
“It is absolutely inconsistent with everything that is taught in the US military and its training,” Col. Karns said.
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