12 November 2012 8:35 pm | | 9

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General Carter Ham, Commander for U.S. Africa Command, (L) and U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Jacob Walles (R)

As the deteriorating situation in the West African state of Mali fuels concerns of spillover violence, Tunisia has yet to take an official stance on how the international community should respond.

The violence in Mali, where Islamist extremists have taken control of northern cities, has the potential to harm nearby Tunisia, said Ahmed Ounaies, a Tunisian political analyst and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“Tunisia isolated itself from what’s happening in the region, which is strange,” Ounaies said. “These armed Islamist groups in North Mali are trying to force their extremist agenda there. They’re smuggling weapons from Libya, and sometimes to or through Tunisia.”

As the international community prepares for military intervention, Ounaies said, Tunisia has not been as proactive as its larger neighbor, Algeria, which has loudly opposed military intervention amid concerns that an invasion would only aggravate the violence.

Among the three major players in international negotiations—Algeria, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Western countries such as France and the U.S.—Algeria alone continues to oppose military intervention, Ounaies said.

“Algeria has its own policy… However, Mali’s stability is important to the whole region,” Ounaies said.

During a round table held today at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, General Carter Ham, Commander for U.S. Africa Command, said he addressed the situation in Mali at a meeting with the Tunisian Ministry of Defense, among other regional security issues. What happens in Mali will have an effect across the region, including Tunisia, he said.

“Tunisia military officers understand this and recognize the need to work in partnership with the neighboring states in matters such as border security so that the people of Tunisia are safe,” Ham said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

In October, the UN Security Council voted to pursue a military intervention and gave the ECOWAS—which supports intervention—45 days to provide a sufficient number of soldiers and a plan for the military operations.

According to Ounaies, despite Algeria’s objection, the UN Security Council will declare at its next session the beginning of military operations in North Mali.

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Comments (9)

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  1. angela says:

    @ Nasri thanks for your post I could not agree more. The US, NATO, other countries have got themselves into such a position that wherever they go it causes hatred. Even if the intention is humanitarian which it sometimes is. Like you I would not know how to solve this other than to suggest that everyone move from their position of hate and begin to act with love….crazy as that may sound. At present there is just too much polarization….again I have to also say though that there are very few heads of state that are innocent or that do not have innocent blood on their hands, because of the persuit of money, oil, power, religion.

  2. angela says:

    hmmmm is that why there were all the protests about the video the government had nothing to do with…..sure we can all tell the difference between America and the American foreign policies thats why million took to the streets….its to everyones advantage to stop armed groups of people in any country who for the sake of religion kill indiscriminately. The US like any other country manipulates the media and often times only underground presses are able to tell the truth. The rise of fundamental Islam is not that surprising but the violence is not acceptable and that is what should be confronted

    However, It is impossible to understand the real reasons for the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, and the deep hatred for the U.S., in the Middle East and other parts of the world, without being aware of and fully taking into account this bloody history of plunder and oppression and violence which the U.S. along with others have indulged in, and continues to carry out. It is impossible to break out of the current very bad and potentially even more disastrous dynamic—where U.S. and other countries imperialism and reactionary Islamic Jihadism continue to reinforce each other even while opposing each other—without a mass movement or ground swell that challenges this whole dynamic.

    A special responsibility in all this falls to all people on all sides the.—to mobilize active, politically meaningful and truly powerful resistance to what is being done, in their name, by the governments of the U.S and many, many other Arab and non Arab countries.

    No one is innocent in the situation the world finds itself in however no one should stand by while people are slaughtered. I am happy to concede that the US is not always caught in the incidents it takes part in but the situation in Mali is clear people are being slaughtered.

    • Nasri says:

      I fully agree with you Angela that “it’s to everyones advantage to stop armed groups of people in any country who for the sake of religion kill indiscriminately.” and for the sake of any ideals I would add, but the question is how? Well, I do not claim to have an answer to this question but surely not through US military intervention either overt or covert. History which is vivid and still unfolding makes it very clear that such an intervention caused only more and more chaos and terror everywhere it happened to be from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Iraq ,Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and the list goes on. US interventions deteriorated not only the security of the targeted people but also American people and we can read this in the rational reports of some very american security agencies. Unfortunately, who cares about rational reports?
      There is a very dangerous trend in dealing with “terrorism” that is the dehumanization of certain groups which is used as a justification for their mass slaughter, torture, or detention without due process of law or at least deterring any kind of communication with them. Unless we admit that these groups are no less human than we are and and we have the humility to listen to their stories and grievances, yes they have grievances, there would be no security and no peace for both. It’s been said that: “There Isn’t Anyone You Couldn’t Love Once You’ve Heard Their Story”.

  3. Like Algeria, Tunisia would be wise not to get implicated in this planned security operation in northern Mali. If AFRICOM wants to play the cowboys in the African Sahara, let them do it: just sit and watch!!

  4. Nasri says:

    The US Administration has developed an extraordinary expertize in the practice of the so called “Problem-Reaction-Solution” doctrine: They create the problem either directly or through their proxies (here the so called Al-Qaida) then they assess the reaction and finally they come out with what they see as a solution which is in fact no more than a solution to push further their hegemony and boost the interests of what Eisenhower referred to as the military industrial complex.
    There is strong evidence of the decisive involvement of the CIA and the MOSSAD in the creation, armement and training of terrorists in nothern Mali. Whether they call them “Islamists Extreemests” or let’s say “New Maoists” they have nothing to do with neither Islam nor Maoism, they are spooks.
    The media which is part of the military industrial complex has the role of exaggerating the security threat of these spooks and transforms them into monsters whose threat is imminent and that we need David to kill this Golliath and that this David is no other than the US Administration the very same force standing behind Golliath.

    • Samir says:

      It is hard to tell whether your comment is meant to be some sort of joke or merely motivated by an irrational hatred of America but, if you would like it to be taken seriously, please provide links to the “strong evidence of the decisive involvement of the CIA and the MOSSAD in the creation, armement and training of terrorists in nothern Mali”.

      • Nasri says:

        Well Samir, I’m not so surprised by your reply because you’ll never see any hints of truth in the main stream media anywhere because as I’ve said they are shamefully complicit. Before providing you with the links let me say somthing about your allegations that my narrative is based on what you called ” irrational hatred of America”: If you mean that I hate the bad policies of the US Administration then yes I do and I do with all bad policies regardless of their perpetrators, but if you mean that I hate America as a whole (people, institutions, values…) well, you’re absolutely wrong and you can trace back my comments on Tunisia live and you’ll discover that I strongly condemned the attacks on US embassies to cite just a close example. The bad security policies of the US Administration during the past two decades have been subject to harsh scrutiny and criticism from people who were once part of the US establishment itself and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski is by no means an exception. Does this mean that Brzezinski’s motive is an “irrational hatred of America”?.
        As for the links, I advise you to do some research concerning the confessions and statements made by high level former CIA Officers like Ray McGovern and Michael Scheuer along with former CIA asset Susan Lindauer about the subject.
        The history of the CIA is unto itself a smoking gun. As I’ve gone through this bloody hystory and especially focusing on its connetions during the past three decades of terror, I came out with a conviction that “Al-Qaeda” is indeed no more than a CIA asset.
        God bless America and down with bad policies.

      • dabbouz says:

        “hatred of America”?….where did you learn this Foxnews/’murika, fu#$ yeah!/hardcore republican lingo?

        We all make a difference between America as a country of a diverse population and American foreign policies….


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