Well this sounds great.
“In Mali’s capital Bamako, I met a Tuareg officer in the Mali army. He was rawboned with thick, leathery hands and heavy lines creasing his forehead and around his eyes. Years of desert fighting have made him look much older than his 42 years. As a young man, he said, he was lured to Libya in the 1980s by radio broadcasts of Qaddafi calling young Tuareg to join his revolution. “I admired the way he wasn’t afraid to stand up to the West, to anybody,” he said. But after being sent to the Libya-Chad war and seeing how Libya’s Arabs used the Tuareg to do all the “difficult fighting,” he lost his ardor for Qaddafi. He left Libya and joined the Tuareg rebels who were fighting the Mali government in the early 1990s. I asked about the implications of mercenaries such as Abdullah coming back home to find few economic opportunities. “It is not good,” he said, listing the security threats Mali faces, including a resilient, well-financed branch of al-Qaeda, which in recent years has kidnapped dozens of foreigners, effectively wrecking the country’s tourism industry, and a fragile peace in the restive Tuareg region. “It is like dragging a dead tree on top of two small fires,” he said. “Soon we may have one big fire.” “If Qaddafi goes, it’s going to be very bad for Mali.” He estimated that roughly 10,000 Tuareg remained in the Libyan army, most of them from Mali. “If Qaddafi is killed or loses power, they will all have to leave. The Arabs won’t let them stay,” he said. “I know many guys there. When they come here, they will fight. I have no doubt. I know them. The revolution is not over.””
Peter Gwin talks with former Qaddafi mercenaries about their experience fighting in Libya. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ethnic Tuaregs left Mali to fight for Muammar Qaddafi. Now, some are returning home to tell their story. Read more at The Atlantic.