The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that there is a sharp debate between the White House and the US Defense Department over whether the militants in northern Mali constitute enough of a threat to necessitate a military action.
Top Pentagon officials warn that unless Washington embarks on aggressive measures, Mali could turn into an Afghanistan-style safe haven for extremist groups.
However, top White House aides dispute Pentagon’s contention that the militants in Mali could pose future challenges against the US.
The White House aides reportedly express concern that any conflict with an elusive enemy in Mali could drag US into an Afghan-like quagmire.
“The question we all need to ask is, what threat do they pose to the US homeland? The answer so far has been none,” an administration official said.
France and several African countries have sent troops to the West African country under the pretext of halting the advance of the militants who have been occupying northern Mali since April.
The Malian Army has announced progress in blocking the rebels' advance beyond their stronghold in the north, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees remains skeptical the conflict would come to an end any time soon.
Chaos broke out in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.
However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region. later, Ansar Dine militants pushed rebels aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas.
The White House and Pentagon officials are reportedly at loggerheads over the prospect of an imminent US military intervention in Mali.
Citing unnamed US officials,