Mali Success Should Be Shaped by Somalia: U.S. Official

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Jan 17th, 2013
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By Paul D. Shinkman,usnews
A State Dept. official says efforts in a former terrorist haven should be a model for action in Africa

French soldiers prepare material to be loaded into a British army Boeing C-17 cargo aircraft arriving from British Brize Norton base en route to Bamako, Mali.French soldiers prepare material to be loaded into a British army Boeing C-17 cargo aircraft arriving from British Brize Norton base en route to Bamako, Mali.

A top State Department official indicated Thursday that the U.S. should shape its presence in Mali based on previous efforts in Somalia, a former war-torn haven for al Qaeda he says is now one of the continent’s greatest success stories.

U.S. officials are still considering support requests from the French for support following their military incursion into Mali recent days, said Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of State for African Affairs. The Economic Community of West African States also continues to determine how neighboring countries will contribute to the fighting between French forces and a coalition of Islamic extremists.

The situation in Mali is reminiscent of Somalia in recent decades, says Carson. What was a haven for al Qaeda and home to the “Black Hawk Down” incident in 1993 is now a successfully burgeoning democracy.

“The kind of support we would give to the ECOWAS states and others in the African theater [in Mali] is very, very similar to what we have done in support of the [African Union Mission in Somalia] effort in Somalia,” he says of support given to African countries who contributed to security operations. Read More HERE

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