ECOWAS and the African Union may provide the troops for military intervention to assist the French and Malian forces in repelling the advances of Islamist groups and Tuareg insurgents in Mali, but they are not up to the task of leading and coordinating the whole effort.
Such leadership must come from the U.N. Security Council, which must work much harder now than it did before in passing Resolution 2085 on December 20, 2012.
Under the United Nations Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining and restoring international peace and security. Instead of issuing meaningless Press Statements which, though they have no legal force, mislead the world into thinking they are actually doing something when they are not, the members of the Security Council should get on with it, and take effective action under Chapter VII of the Charter.
Otherwise, they will become as irrelevant in Mali as they have become in Syria.
At the end of the day, someone has to lead. If it is to be the French, with American support, let them lead through the Security Council. All the ideological language about the intervention force being “African-led” should be dropped at once.
The objective here is not to have an “African-led” force, but rather to have an effective force that is capable of defeating the jihadists and revolutionaries who have seized much of Mali, and–at least until the French intervened–were advancing on Bamako.
The world does not need another Afghanistan, or a country like what Syria is becoming. The world must act, and the institution through which it must act is the Security Council.
Leadership is needed, now. If France is to take the lead, the U.S. and the other Security Council members should pull behind France and provide full support, acting through the Security Council.
In any event, the terms of Resolution 2085 have been overtaken by events on the ground. Consequently, the Security Council needs to immdiately negotiate and adopt a new resolution on Mali which takes current realities into account.
The Trenchant Observer