(di Anthony Brown) – An extraordinary summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was held 11 November, 2012 in Abuja Nigeria.
The meeting follows the venue in Abuja of the West Africa’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers Friday, 9th November 2012 when it was presented the report of the regional Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff on the concept of operations (CONOPS) for the deployment of regional troops.
The gathering is a further step towards a military intervention after that security and military experts from ECOWAS, the African Union, the UN, the European Union and other partners had met on September 18th in Bamako, Mali, to finalise the proposal of the Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS member countries and adopted the Concept of Operations developed and harmonized by the officers and planners of the sub-regional grouping. http://www.essor.ml/actualite/article/appui-militaire-au-mali-la-cedeao
CONOPS outlines the military intervention strategy ahead of a planned deployment of troops to the country under the banner “International Mission of Support in Mali (MISMA)”. The West African body agreement to intervene militarily in the Malian civil crisis for the reestablishment of peace, security followed a two day emergency meeting of ECOWAS committee of chiefs of defense staff on Wednesday 25th- 26 July held in the Ivorian Capital, Abidjan. Presidents from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have taken into consideration the plan for a possible military intervention in northern Mali, where Al-Qaida linked radical Islamist groups have ousted both the country’s military and Tuareg rebels who have long waged war for an independent state.
The plan is the effect of the UN Security Council Resolution 2071 of 12 October, and the Communiqué of the 339th meeting of 24 October, of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, that on October the 12th the United Nations had asked the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mandating that urgent political actions be taken by the UN Secretary-General, ECOWAS and the African Union to fully resolve the crises.
According to Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo the President of the ECOWAS Commission, if the plan will be adopted it will be sent to the United Nations by the African Union.
Salafists control Northern Mali better than anyone uncovering a broader sahelian strategy http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/JA2703p010-013.xml0/mali-aqmi-abdelmalek-droukdel- front-polisariomali-polisario-connection.html; the area has also become a storage point for much of the cocaine that transits the region. And this was already well known a couple of years ago when Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré on the occasion of Army Day, in January 2010, announced, “in our country, the problems of insecurity, particularly due to drugs, terrorism, and cross-border banditry, in all their complexity, have generated a profound need to identify their causes and strategies to curb their perverse ef- fects.” (see: “Message du président Touré à l’occasion de la Fête de l’armée: Rappel des Acquis, Appel à la Mobilisation Contre les Nouvelles Menaces,” L’Essor, January 21, 2010.) Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has held talks Thursday with Romano Prodi, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Sahel Region, over the crisis in northern Mali. Prodi was quoted by the official APS news agency as saying that the United Nations appreciates any effort to achieve peace in northern Mali, adding that “If there must be a military intervention it would be a last resort”. Further, today Chad’s representative’s, Emmanuel Nadingar, opening remarks encouraged a negotiated solution as an outcome of the present talks in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, and has broadly been supported by the fifteen ECOWAS members together with Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco although facts show that at present the military plan is the option regional political bodies are most likely to adopt despite the apparent will of part of the northern factions for new talks, giving up the armed struggle. (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-11/09/c_123932060.htm and http://www.news.va/en/news/africamali-negotiations-and-military-preparations).