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In Mali France Evaded "Algerian Element" in SCR 2085, Hostage Taking Followed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 19 -- When the UN Security Council's Resolution 2085 on Mali was negotiated last month, safeguards were proposed and agreed too, steps that had to be taken BEFORE military action began.

  As Inner City Press reported at the time, Operative Paragraph 11 was called "the Algerian element" by one of its African sources on the Council -- an acknowledgment that a military offensive in Mali without following such steps could destabilize neighboring Algeria.

  But when France began bombing Konna in Mali on January 11, none of the safeguards had been followed. Instead, what followed was a large scale and now deadly hostage taking in Algeria.

  We have waited to write and ask this until, as French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has now announced, there are no more French hostages in the In Amenas natural gas compound in Algeria.

  But simultaneously at the ECOWAS summit, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius has again claimed that France's military intervention is "in the framework of international legality." It wasn't and isn't.

  The "Algerian element" in UNSC Resolution 2085, agreed to be France, wasn't followed, and death there is what happened. Who is to blame?

   Consider Operative Paragraph 11 of Resolution 2085, particularly its final clause:

"11. Emphasizes that the military planning will need to be further refined before the commencement of the offensive operation and requests that the Secretary-General, in close coordination with Mali, ECOWAS, the African Union, the neighbouring countries of Mali, other countries in the region and all other interested bilateral partners and international organizations, continue to support the planning and the preparations for the deployment of AFISMA, regularly inform the Council of the progress of the process, and requests that the Secretary-General also confirm in advance the Council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation."

  Starting on January 12, Inner City Press asked the UN: did France get Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to "confirm in advance the Council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation" -- the details of which it seems Ban wasn't informed of?

  Were those steps and safeguards only applicable to AFRICAN intervenors?

  At the Security Council on January 14, French Permanent Representative Araud erroneously told Inner City Press that there was no French letter to the UN, only a Malian letter.

  But there WAS a French letter, and it did not mention UN Charter Article 51, which later became France's after the fact fig leaf for the bombing.

  On January 18, the French mission spokesman did not permit Inner City Press to ask Araud a single question, unlike on January 14 and unlike the other speakers on January 18, from Valerie Amos through Navi Pillay to Security Council president Masood Khan, who told Inner City Press that France had not updated the Council on Mali since January 14.

  Claiming that the request of the Malian authorities is also dubious, since as Araud himself admitted to Inner City Press, coup leader Amadou Sanogo has an official role in the Malian military.

  Again: the safeguards in UNSC Resolution 2085, agreed to be France, weren't followed, and death is what has followed. Who is to blame? Watch this site.

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