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Monday, March 21

Um, where are most of the world's oppressed females oppressed the most?

Implementation of Sharia included banning of music, with groups showing up randomly in villages, armed with weaponry, to burn musical instruments and musical items. One guitarist was threatened that his fingers would be chopped off if he ever showed his face in one [N. Mali] town again.

The most oppressed of the oppressed females are in Muslim majority countries. So Western and UN programs to raise up downtrodden females aren't just emptying the ocean with a sieve; they're actually making the ocean bigger. Now how do they manage that? Because the more they spend in Muslim countries to help oppressed females, the more the Saudis spend to finance Wahhabist takeovers or expansion in those countries.

So don't even try to imagine how much hard currency taxpayers and private charities have thrown down the toilet in their attempts to help downtrodden females. All right, Pundita, let's not start the week with a tantrum.

Now where are we in space and time? Mali. [squinting at a map of Africa] Where is Mali? Never mind. Just take a look at the first three minutes of this video, which shows the Malian singer Oumou Sangaré helping depressed-looking girls and women cast off their obligatory black head coverings.  

Those scenes are not just theater for the video. Oumou is a real scrapper; she sang her way out of poverty and rose to become Mali's greatest singer and a huge favorite with West European audiences. But it was her fierce dedication to helping oppressed females that made her a superstar in the International Community and at the United Nations. From Wikipedia's article about her:
Oumou Sangaré (born February 25, 1968 in Bamako, Mali) is a Grammy Award-winning Malian Wassoulou musician, sometimes referred to as "The Songbird of Wassoulou". Wassoulou is a historic region south of the Niger River, where the music descends from age-old traditional and cultural songs, which is accompanied by a calabash.
Many of Sangaré's songs concern love and marriage, especially freedom of choice in marriage. Her 1989 album Moussoulou was an unprecedented West African hit.
Sangaré supports the cause of women throughout the world. She was named an ambassador of the FAO in 2003 and won the UNESCO Prize in 2001 and was made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of France in 1998.
Oumou Sangaré is an advocate for women's rights, opposing child marriage and polygamy.
So you can guess how popular she is in the more conservative areas of Mali. Doesn't faze her; she just puts on war paint and sings in person to the retrogrades. There's a really strange video clip of her doing that; it's on the same YouTube video I posted above starting at the 9:15 mark and maybe interrupted by a Japan Airlines five second ad.

Now back to Wikipedia, to look at religion in Mali:
An estimated 90 percent of Malians are Muslim, mostly Sunni belonging to Maliki school of jurisprudence influenced with Sufism. Ahmadiyya and Shia minorities are also present.[2] Approximately 5 percent are Christian (about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant denominations); the remaining 5 percent of Malians adhere to indigenous or traditional animist beliefs.[3] Atheism and agnosticism are believed to be rare among Malians, most of whom practice their religion on a daily basis, although some are Deist.[4]
According to the 2005 U.S. Department of State’s annual report on religious freedom, Islam as traditionally practiced in Mali was characterized as moderate, tolerant, and adapted to local conditions.[4] Women were allowed to participate in social economical and political activities and generally do not wear veils.[4]
According to the 2012 Pew Forum study The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity, 94% of Muslim in Mali surveyed believe that religion very important in their lives, and 71% believe there is "only one true way to understand Islam’s teachings" (24% believing that multiple interpretations of Islam are possible).[2]
The constitution establishes a secular state and provides for freedom of religion, and the government largely respects this right.[4] Relations between Muslims and practitioners of minority religious faiths are generally amicable, and foreign missionary groups (both Muslim and non-Muslim) are tolerated.[4]
Because of the 2012 imposition of Sharia rule in northern parts of the country however, Mali was listed high (#7) in the Christian persecution index published by Open Doors which described the persecution in the north as severe.[5][6]  In spite of this, a 2015 study estimated some 8,000 believers in Christ from a Muslim background in the country.[7]
Implementation of Sharia included banning of music, with groups showing up randomly in villages, armed with weaponry, to burn musical instruments and musical items. One guitarist was threatened that his fingers would be chopped off if he ever showed his face in one town again.[8] Other rules such as cutting off hands or feet of thieves, stoning of adulterers and public whipping of smokers, alcohol drinkers and women who are not properly dressed were also implemented. [8]
However, the occupation and Sharia law were both short-lived, cut short by a French and Chadian military intervention that began in January 2013. See Northern Mali Conflict.
Short-lived, huh? Instead of looking at the Wikipedia article on the conflict how about seeing what Reuters has to report? Wait; first to Long War Journal on March 5:

Ansar Dine, a Tuareg jihadist front for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has claimed four recent attacks in Mali. Most of the attacks occurred in the northern part of the West African nation, but one occurred in the more secure Segou region in central Mali.

Ansar Dine claimed the attacks in one of the first statements released by their new propaganda outfit – Al Rimaah Media – which were later obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

In the northern region of Kidal, Ansar Dine claimed to detonate improvised explosive devices on three UN vehicles near Aguelhok, Tesslitnear and Kidal. The jihadist group also claimed to target a UN camp in Kidal with rockets.


Wed Mar 9, 2016 - 11:46am EST
Exclusive: African Union considers Mali counter-terrorism force

(DAKAR, SENEGAL) The African Union will send a mission to northern Mali in the next few weeks to look into setting up a counter-terrorism force to support vulnerable U.N. peacekeepers, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Bamako government, as well as some officials of the U.N. force in Mali, MINUSMA, have called for more help in fighting al Qaeda-linked insurgents, who have become increasingly active despite the efforts of French, Malian and U.N. troops.

French forces drove the jihadists out of northern Malian cities in 2013 but they have regrouped, and in November al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked a luxury hotel in Bamako, killing 20 people in a demonstration of their ability to strike beyond their desert bases.

Critics say the 10,000-strong U.N. force's ability to bring peace to Mali is hamstrung by its lack of an aggressive counter-terrorism mandate, meaning it cannot hunt down militants and is vulnerable to attack.

At least 20 Malian and U.N. troops from Africa have been killed this year, according to Reuters estimates.

While an expansion of the U.N. mandate was discussed during a Security Council visit to Mali last week, some permanent members such as France say it is already sufficiently robust, although they back additional resources for the force.

The AU initiative is being floated as an alternative route to improved security, the sources say.

"There is an (AU) mission to assess the security threats in northern Mali in the next few weeks," said one security source familiar with the visit who is not authorized to speak publicly.

"This will allow the development of a plan for an international force in the fight against terrorism," he added, saying the AU planned to seek U.N. and Malian backing.

A Western diplomat said the force's remit would be similar to an existing AU regional task force set up last year to fight jihadist group Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin.

Planning is at an early stage and details of troop numbers and financing have not yet been determined, the sources said.

AU officials at the continental body's headquarters in Addis Ababa could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the Malian defense ministry declined to comment.

Army spokesman Colonel Souleymane Maiga said: "I know that there have been recent meetings on a possible rapid intervention force but the form this force will take has not yet been decided as far as I know."


Besides funding, one of the difficulties might be harmonizing security initiatives in a region where neighbors have a history of vying for influence, the sources added.

The Group of Five Sahel (G5 Sahel) -- Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania -- have also agreed to create EU-backed regional rapid reaction forces to counter Islamist militants.

G5 Sahel permanent secretary Najim Elhadj Mohamed said he had not been informed of the AU initiative and it was not clear if the two bodies would cooperate.

Mali's northern neighbor Algeria set up a joint military operations center for Sahel countries in 2010 but there have been few signs of progress on the ground.

Some security experts say more support is needed to fight jihadists in Mali since France's 3,500-strong Barkhane force is overstretched. The Chad-based force was set up to combat Islamists across West Africa's vast Sahel region.

"A bigger contribution from African forces could take the pressure off the French, who could focus more on securing borders and on ISIS (Islamic State) in Libya," said Rida Lyammouri, an independent consultant focused on the Sahel and north Africa.

"But to succeed (the AU force) would have to match the violent extremist organizations in terms of their outreach to local communities in Mali," he added.

(Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa and Adama Diarra in Bamako; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Giles Elgood)



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