Since 1990, the United States and other developed nations have committed substantial diplomatic, economic, and military resources to resolve extreme intra-state conflicts. The world has found that the ...
Since 1990, the United States and other developed nations
have committed substantial diplomatic, economic, and military
resources to resolve extreme intra-state conflicts. The world has
found that the hatreds behind the conflicts often are very
difficult to suppressand even harder to dissipate. It also has
discovered that military interventions alone rarely attenuate
the underlying problems that provoked the violence. One result
has been a growing worldwide literature on mechanisms to
anticipate intra-state conflict and on measures which may
preclude the necessity for expensive military interventions.
But models and formulae are problematic in the analysis of
conflict. Human culture is so complex that it is difficult to
identifylet alone control forall of the variables. History
rarely reproduces the experiment. The analyst often is left
with the sad role of explaining why problems of conflict were not
foreseen, despite the best of resources and intentions. And
military force continues to play a key role in intra-state conflict
resolution, though often with less than satisfactory results.
When a society faced with a situation of severe internal
conflict finds an internal solution which does not require outside
intervention, that is of keen interest. If the society can do it in a
way that preserves ongoing processes of political and economic
reform, that is remarkable. If the society employs its military
establishment as a key instrument in its processes of national
reconciliation, that achievement is worthy of serious study.
In this paper, Lieutenant Colonel Kalifa Keita describes how
his countrythe Republic of Malidid all of these. I can only
echo his words, truly, this is a story for our times.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL KALIFA KEITA, Army of the
Republic of Mali, currently is a student at the the U.S. Army
War College. He entered commissioned service in 1975,
serving for most of his career in Armor leadership positions
in Mali. His previous education includes a B.S. degree from
the Military Academy of Mali, military specialty training in
the former Soviet Union, and the U.S. Army Armor School.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General
Staff College. Lieutenant Colonel Keita has commanded at
the level of platoon, company, battalion, and military
region. In 1989 and 1990, he served as mayor of the largest
suburb (commune) of BamakoMalis capital. His combat
experience includes service in the Mali-Burkina War
(1985-86) where his performance earned him advanced
promotion and the Medal of Military Value. His role during
the Tuareg Rebellion in northern Mali involved both
military and civil leadership. From 1994 to 1997, he
commanded Malis 5th Military Region (the area around the
historic city of Timbuktu). In that capacity, he was deeply
involved in the activities which ended a festering rebellion
in his country, and brought about a remarkable national
reconciliation. His exceptional service earned him advanced
promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and the prestigious award
of Chevalier de lOrdre National.