While he acknowledges the very serious humanitarian crisis in northern Mali, Peter Dörrie argues that the proposed ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) military intervention is a mistake:
Although the demand for a military intervention is understandable, it is unclear how exactly it would improve the situation. It is unrealistic to expect that the currently proposed 3,000-strong intervention force, which would likely consist mainly of Nigerian soldiers, could regain control of the north’s vast territory. At best, it would be able to push the various Islamist and rebel groups out of a limited number of cities. This would not be sufficient to alleviate the multilayered crisis in the north, nor would it deny extremist groups shelter or address the underlying grievances that led to the rebellion in the first place.
At the same time, the need to resume relief efforts is great. As he explains elsewhere in the article:
The instability in the north has also resulted in a complete shutdown of relief efforts to address the ongoing food crisis gripping the Sahel. The already alarming situation will probably be further exacerbated by an upcoming seasonal outbreak of locusts, as ongoing insecurity in the region, as well as in southern Libya, have made it impossible to take the usual pre-emptive measures. Together, the security and humanitarian threats are expected to provoke a large-scale refugee crisis, with many more people likely to join the 300,000 Malian refugees already in neighboring countries.