In case you missed it, there was a coup recently in Mali. It was probably not unconnected to the recent regime change in Libya, as discussed here by Joshua Keating. In short, the coup was apparently provoked by the military’s concern at how the government was fighting the Taureg insurgency in the north (there was probably a lot more involved than this, but we’ll see). These insurgents, according to Keating, have benefitted of late from the return of Taureg mercenaries that were fighting for Qaddafi up in Libya.
From a US angle, this tidbit from AP is pretty interesting:
A diplomat who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press said that Sanogo, the coup leader, was among the elite tier of soldiers selected by the U.S. Embassy to receive military counterterrorism training in America. Sanogo, the official said, traveled “several times” to America for the special training.
It is a bit perplexing, though, how this got through the editors at AP:
Mali is one of the few functioning democracies in the volatile western quadrant of Africa. In the capital, soldiers surrounded the presidential palace on Wednesday as well as the state television station, announcing a coup at dawn on Thursday.
For recent news from Mali, see here and here. I await a liberal interventionist or neoconservative (or AFRICOM) voice saying that Mali is the next critical battleground in the war on terror or that American security interests demand U.S. involvement at some level.