SP critical of risky military mission in Mali

1 November 2013

SP critical of risky military mission in Mali

The SP is critical of the Netherlands’ military mission in Mali. In the Parliamentary debate soon to be held on the decision to send troops to Mali, the government will have to explain why Dutch participation is necessary, says SP Member of Parliament Jasper van Dijk. Van Dijk was reacting to the government’s decision to send around 350 military personnel to the African country for a minimum two years. ‘It’s not clear why the Netherlands must send its troops,’ adds Van Dijk. ‘If it’s as hopeless a struggle as Afghanistan, we would have problems supporting it.’

Jasper van DijkVan Dijk has a number of questions about the decision: how will the government prevent a long drawn-out and hopeless struggle in an inhospitable region? How do you avoid provoking fresh terrorism? Has enough account been taken of all population groups, or will the Netherlands be principally acting in the south of Mali and in support of the Malian army, the same army which has recently been guilty of human rights abuses? How will the language barrier be dealt with, given that the principal language spoken will be French?

Experts warn that the Netherlands is diving straight into a hornets’ nest. For the soldiers involved it will be unclear who is an ally and who an enemy. In addition, there is a chance that insurgents will simply wait things out in neighbouring countries until these soldiers have been withdrawn. This operation offers little possibility of a lasting solution.

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