As the fighting between the Tuareg rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of Awazad (MNLA) and the Malian army enters its third month, there are few indications that the conflict will be resolved in the near future.
On a military level, the advantage lies with the well-equipped and experienced Tuareg fighters, many of whom are veterans of earlier rebellions and the Libyan civil war. Using long-range guerrilla tactics, mainly surprise attacks launched over distances of hundreds of miles with four-wheel-drive pickup trucks, they have sacked at least seven Malian garrison towns so far, including one this past weekend.
The human costs of the rebellion are mounting: Up to 160,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, according to Oxfam, about half of them fleeing into neighboring Niger, Mauritania, Algeria and Burkina Faso. […]
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