Republic of Mali
The Republic of Mali is one of the 54 nations of Africa. The country is located in Western Africa and it borders Niger, Algeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire to the east, north, west, and south, respectively. Mali is a landlocked country consisting of eight regions in an area of slightly over 1,240,000 km². The country has an estimated population of 13.5 million, and nearly half of them have to make do with less than 1 USD per day (Library of Congress 16). Agriculture and fishing are among the leading economic activities in the country. In addition, Mali is endowed with such natural resources as uranium, salt, old, and livestock.
The coup d’etat
In March 2012, a coup d’etat was started by disgruntled Malian soldiers who were not happy with how the government was handling the Tuareg rebellion in the north-western part of the country. This prompted the mutinying Malian soldiers to attack and seize the state television and the military barracks. The presidential palace was also attacked. The coup resulted in the death of three citizens, with an additional 40 sustaining injuries (Schneider para. 3).
The following day, the soldiers claimed that they had overthrown the government of the incumbent leader, Amadou Toumani Toure, prompting him to go into hiding. The coup d’état leader in Mali is believed to have received professional military training in the United States. Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo took part in a US State Department-sponsored Military Education and Training program (RT News para 2). Participants are often handpicked by US embassies in various countries.
Following the coup, there followed harsh sanctions against the country by its neighbors, not to mention the “unanimous” international condemnation of this act. In addition, the country lost its northern part to the Tuareg forces. On April 6th, ECOWAS brokered an agreement with the junta that they would relinquish power in exchange for the end of sanctions to the country (Nossiter 2).
As a result, a transitional government headed by the speaker of the country’s national assembly, Diancounda Traore, came into power, albeit temporarily. In the days that followed, Amadou Sanogo, who was the coup leader, along with Toure, formally resigned. However, even in mid-May, there were high indications that the army was still in control. The U.S government was quick to condemn the military coup in Mali but there have been no plans thus far to reconsider revoking an aid program to the tune of $ 140 million that the US had advanced Mali in 2012.
The Mali Army
The Malian army consists of the Air Force, the Army, the Republican Guard, National Police, and the Gendarmerie. The Ministry of Armed Forces and veterans is in charge of all these units of the army, whose total number is estimated at 7,000. In January 2005, a country profile of Malian from the Library of Congress stated that “.[t]he military is underpaid, poorly equipped, and in need of rationalization. Its organization has suffered from the incorporation of Tuareg irregular forces into the regular military following a 1992 agreement between the government and Tuareg rebel forces” (Library of Congress 18).
In 1991, Mali underwent a coup attempt but the following year, there was a democratic transition of government. Since then, the military has managed to maintain a low profile in as far as the country’s governance is concerned (DiPiazza 88). The immediate former president, Amadou Toure, is himself a former army general. Based on his army background, it is widely claimed that he has benefited from widespread military support (Library of Congress 18).
In 2003, the U.S Department of State passed a clean bill of health on the Mali army in its yearly human rights report. In the report, the U.S Department of State had indicated that save for several occasions when certain individuals in the security forces had ignored government authority, civilian control of security forces was, by and large, effective. Several Malians have benefited from military training in France, Germany, and the United States. 13 percent of the country’s national budget is dedicated to military expenditures.
Mali has played an active role in the various peacekeeping missions in Central and West Africa by sending its peacekeeping forces to the war-torn regions. For example, in 2004, the country has sent its military personnel to peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Library of Congress 20). Following the coming to an end of the Soviet Union, coupled with the recent collapse of the Tuareg Rebellion, the Malian Army has found it very hard to maintain its size, in spite of the recent military assistance from the United States.
The Army is characterized by two tank battalions. There are two crucial training establishments for the Malian armed forces. They include the Koulikoro-based Joint Military School and the Bamako-based Peacekeeping Training School that is popularly known as Alioune Blondin Beye.
United States Army
The U.S Army is one of the seven uniformed services in the country. It is also the oldest and largest military establishment. In the 2010 fiscal year, it was reported that the Regular Army had some 561,979 solders; the US. Army Reserve had a reported 205,281 soldiers, and the Army National Guard was reported to have 362,015 soldiers. In total, the U.S Army has 1,129,275 soldiers (FY10 Army Profile 1). At the moment, the U.S Army has the following divisions: the Army National Guard, the Regular Army, and the Army Reserve.
The army consists of such major branches as the Infantry, the Air Defense Artillery, Signal Corps, Aviation, Armor, and Corps of Engineers (Andrade et al. 744). The U.S Army has two categories of training namely, individual and collective. Individual training starts with a 10-week basic training course that culminates in an Advanced Individualized Training. On the other hand, collective training occurs mainly at designated combat training centers.
The coup d’etat that took place recently in Mali was the second one to have taken place in the landlocked country, the first one having taken place in 1991. The leader of the coup, Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo is a beneficiary of a US State Department-funded military training program. The Malian Army is small in size in comparison with that of the United States. In addition, its annual budgetary allocation is also dwarfed by that of the US Army.
Those joining the US Army have to be trained at both an individual and a collective level. In Mali, there are two army training institutions, but selected soldiers also receive training from the US, France, and Germany.
Andrade, Dale, Jacobs, Bruce, Langellier, John, Newell, Clayton and Seelinger, Matthew. U.S.
Army: A Complete History (Beaux Arts ed.). Arlington, VA: The Army Historical
Foundation, 2004. Print.
DiPiazza, Francesca. Mali in Pictures. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Learner Publishing Group,
FY10 Army Profile. Army Demographics. 2012. Web. 22 July 2012.
Library of Congress. Federal Research Division Country Profile: Mali. 2005. Web. 22 July
Nossiter, Adam. Soldiers Declare Coup in Mali. 2012. Web. 22 July 2012.
Schneider, James. Mali’s CNRDR: An Accidental Coup?. 2012. Web. 22 July 2012.
RT News. MALI. US behind military coup: Mali coup led by US-trained captain. 2012. Web.
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