Monday, April 02, 2012


thanks to the ridiculous backfiring coup, the tuareg rebels have now captured pretty much the entire area in mali that the MNLA have claimed for their tuareg state of azawad. i doubt if their state will be recognized by anyone (if they're smart they will ditch the islamic fundamentalist rhetoric and stick to ethnic-based grievances), but if they somehow were to become independent, is that state viable?

unified mali already was one of the poorest countries in africa, which is the poorest continent on earth. the non-azawad parts of mali are where most of the population is and where most of the fertile land is. most of mali's economic growth comes from the area that isn't claimed by the rebels. on top of that, none of azawad's neighbors are going to be all that supportive, several of them are going to fear malian azawad would inspire their own tuaregs to push to have their own independence or be included in a greater azawad that isn't just limited to mali's currently recognized international borders.

independent azawad would have salt. that is a natural resource, i guess. i don't see how the sahara salt trade can compete with the modern global salt industry. if they ever made it safe, timbuktu, at least, has some tourism potential. it's an amazing place to visit if you're not worried about getting kidnapped or killed.