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The conflict in the Western African nation of Mali, a former French colony with a majority Muslim population, is one that has been adversely reported by various international media. These media institutions have continuously reported and analyzed the on going conflict in the country with the intention of finding out the nuanced factors that are deeply rooted in the nation’s history as well as its regional forces and have negatively affected the nation. However, the oversimplification of the root causes of the on going Mali conflict by the media institutions especially through their articles has resulted into contrasting view points. It is in this perspective that this paper comparatively analyzes two contrasting articles; Mali by the New York Times and Mali: Five key facts about the conflict by the Guardian.
In the article Mali: Five key facts about the conflict, the Guardian news provides useful perspective on how the media has continued to oversimplify the Mali conflict. In so doing, the media has failed to provide some essential materials that can help in pointing out the real personality furthering terrorist activities through the Mali conflict. For instance, in the article, the terrorist who currently engage in the Mali conflict seems to have come from the inevitable fall of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi was a stabilizing force in the Sahel region where Mali was part of as his occasional military support did propped up regional politicians and enforced diplomatic initiative which amounted to forced regional cooperation (The Guardian, 1). The writer adds that Gaddafi was a formidable force in Mali as his army recruited young men from northern Tuareg; the rebellion group under the umbrella of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azaward (MNLA). It is this group that has continuously fueled the fight experienced in Mali especially against Bamako’s rule.
On the other hand, the New York Time news’ article, Mali, has given an overview of Mali by detailing its sense of recent history and politics in pointing out who the “terrorist” is. Historically, the article denotes Mali as a Western Africa nation well known for its democratic model. However, the March 2012 coup devised by mutinous soldiers in Bamako that led to the overthrowing of the elected President Amadou Toumani Toure was based on government exclusiveness. Chronologically, soldiers were first angered by government’s mishandling of the nomadic Tuareg rebels located at the country’s northern desert. Consequently, after the coup, Tuareg rebels were then pushed out f the north by Islamist extremist. Through this article, it comes out that the Mali’s military were the “terrorist” themselves since they wanted to create safe haven for terrorists. It is due to their reluctance to act that the article points out that France began the military intervention especially in 2013 (the New York Time, p.1).
Based on the above projections, the article by the Guardian and that of the New York Times contrast each other especially in pointing out who the real “terrorist” to the Mali conflict is. The article by the Guardian tends to associate the “terrorist” with external factors such as combatant flows of militia from Libya after the fall of Gaddafi as the cause of on going conflict in the region. In so doing, it gives out recent historic background that leaves out the desperate dysfunctionality of the rebel groups such as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Ansar Dine who are key contributors to the conflict. On the other hand, the New York Time news’ article tends to believe that the ongoing conflict in Mali is widely contributed to by internal factors which bring out the existence of terrorist. These internal factors include; military fragmentation, limited implementation of previous peace accords with Tuareg groups, and more significantly, poor governance. In so doing, it provides an inclusive approach in determining the real causes of crisis in the country based on earlier and recent history.
In conclusion, the two articles discussed above have given out contrasting accounting on who is the real mastermind in the ongoing Mali conflict. However, even though there is invariability on their account, it is important to note that harmonizing both articles can help in understanding and addressing the issue. More significantly, media articles should comprehensively bring out the historical background of terrorists who widely contribute to the conflict.