(Jason Ditz) In another embarrassment for US training programs for international forces, this past week’s coup in Mali found itself linked to an American training program. Colonel Assimi Goita, the new dictator of Mali, graduated from US training courses.
That’s a problem for Washington, also as photos of Goita were featured heavily on US military sites regarding the training operations. The military has so far avoided comment on the matter, though some media are reporting that the photographs were disappearing from the sites when the news started to break.
It looks bad, but also isn’t shocking. Mali’s last coup, in 2012, saw the exact same thing, with Captain Amadou Sanogo having been through six training missions with the US before the coup.
Meanwhile, Foreign Policy reports that “The United States has halted all security assistance training and support for Malian military forces that carried out a coup in the West African country after new details emerged that the coup was orchestrated in part by military officers who received training from the U.S. military.”
And further, the report continues:
The Washington Post first reported that Goita, the head of the new junta, was trained by U.S. and European forces, including U.S. Special Operations forces. Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth, a Pentagon spokesperson, told Foreign Policy in a statement that the U.S. military is “looking into other Malians who have participated in U.S. training and, though counter to that training, may have played a role in the recent mutiny.”
The number of coup leaders, war criminals, and general bad actors in the training program has raised concerns that the Pentagon is too heavily focused on efficiency and fostering relationships with Western military bureaucracies, without focus enough on respect for civilian governance and democracies.