In a March post, Torn from today's headlines, I mentioned that rebel Taureg tribesman had moved to Libya in the 1980s to receive military training from Gaddafi.
As well as exporting trouble to his neighbors, he used them as mercenaries. During the recent civil war Tauregs were the bulk of the troops he brought in to bolster his regime. The later atrocities, when blacks were being killed indiscriminately in Libya, was a reaction to the Taureg mercenaries.
With Gaddafi's defeat many of the Tuareg mercenaries returned to northern Mali where they are causing chaos. Scott Stewart discusses the problems they are causing the government of Mali in his latest Strator article, the beginning of which is excerpted below. You can read the entire article by following the link after the excerpt.
For the article's Hot Strafor Babe I turned to the 1959 movie Timbuktu. The action movie revolves around Col. Dufort, who along with his wife has traveled to Timbuktu to take charge of the French garrison there. His efforts are complicated by an uprising of the Tauregs, as well as the fact that an American traveling companion is putting the moves on his wife, which she isn't exactly resisting.
Dufort's wife was played by Yvonne De Carlo, and so she gets the immense honor of being named the article's Hot Stratfor Babe.
Ms De Carlo started her career as a dancer, and moved to the movies in 1940s where she payed her dues by appearing in bit parts for several years. In 1945 her patience payed off when she finally landed a title role in Salome Where She Danced. Sounds like it must have been a classy movie. From that point she had a fairly successful movie career.
However, as she aged she transitioned to TV, and that is where most of us know her from. She played the role of Lily Munster in the Munsters, which is a fine exclamation point to her acting career as far as I'm concerned.
Mali Besieged by Fighters Fleeing Libya
By Scott Stewart, February 2, 2012
Mali has experienced perhaps the most significant external repercussions from the downfall of the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Stratfor has discussed the impact of the conflict in Libya on the wider region since international intervention began in March 2011. Instability in Libya due to that country's deep internal fault lines meant that re-establishing a government would prove difficult. As we pointed out, that instability could spread to neighboring countries as weapons and combatants flow outward from Libya.
Reports now indicate that thousands of armed Tuareg tribesmen who previously served in Gadhafi's military have returned home to Mali. The influx of this large number of well-armed and well-trained fighters, led by a former Libyan army colonel, has re-energized the long-simmering Tuareg insurgency against the Malian government. These Tuareg insurgents have formed a new group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). In mid-January, they began a military campaign to free three northern regions of Mali from Bamako's control.
The government of Mali has claimed that the MNLA is aligned with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). MNLA, however, has strongly denied any link to the group and said it will serve as a bulwark against AQIM. Given the U.S. and European interest in preventing the strengthening of AQIM, both sides have considerable incentive to take their respective positions. These developments make it an opportune time to examine the MNLA, its current offensive and the potential implications for Mali and the region.
The Tuaregs and the Origins of the MNLA
The Tuaregs are a semi-nomadic people who inhabit the interior of Africa's Sahara region, including parts of Mali, Algeria, Niger and Libya. (Click here for background information on the Tuaregs.) Tuareg militancy extends to pre-colonial times; the current conflict is merely the latest manifestation of a longstanding struggle between the Tuaregs and their ruler of the moment. In modern times, Tuareg insurgencies seem to occur almost every decade. They have fought the governments of Mali, Niger and Algeria since those countries' independence from France. Major Tuareg rebellions occurred in Mali from 2007 to 2009 and from 1990 to 1995.
During these rebellions, Tuareg militants typically exploit their mountain bases in Mali's northeast to launch hit-and-run guerrilla attacks against military targets across Mali's vast northern region, leaving the Malian armed forces spread thin.
The Tuaregs are a tribal people. Some Tuareg tribes in Mali -- such as the Oulemedens, Ichnidharans and Imgads -- tend to be more closely aligned than tribes such as the Idnans, Ifoghas and Chamanesse, which tend to be involved with armed opposition to the government.
Traditionally, the Tuaregs controlled caravan routes across the Sahara. In days past, those caravans carried gold, spices, salt or dates. Today, contraband including weapons, untaxed tobacco and even narcotics traverse the desert routes. Banditry remains common in the region.
The MNLA emerged against this backdrop on Oct. 16, 2011, four days before the killing of Moammar Gadhafi. Its leader is former Libyan army Col. Ag Mohamed Najem, who hails from the Ifogha tribe, at present the most radical tribe of the Tuareg opposition in Mali.
Read the rest of Mali Besieged by Fighters Fleeing Libya at Stratfor.