Top of the Morning: ECOWAS Wants UN Mandate for Mali Intervention; Syria Uses Children as Human Shields

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. 

ECOWAS Asks for UN Mandate to Intervene in Mali

The West African regional bloc wants the Security Council to give it permission to intervene militarily in Northern Mali. It looks like the cards are falling into place for that to happen.  “ECOWAS, which is still preparing its Security Council request, would seek logistical support from the United States and France for any military intervention. The bloc wants a “Chapter 7” mandate if talks with armed groups fail to resolve the escalating crisis, he said. Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter allows the Security Council to authorise actions ranging from sanctions to military interventions. ECOWAS has said for weeks it has troops ready but the cost of such a mission – which peacekeeping sources estimate at more than $200 million – and confusion over its objectives mean any deployment is probably still far off. Former colonial ruler France, which has six of its citizens held hostage in un unknown location in the region by al Qaeda’s north African arm (AQIM), has said it would be ready to help restore stability in Mali if there is a Security Council resolution. (Reuters

UN: Syria Uses Children as Human Shields

The UN Secretary General issued the annual report on children in armed conflict, which lists governments around the world that use child soldiers or target children. This year, for the first time, Syria is on the list. This sounds just awful and traumatizing:  “Children between 8 and 13 were forcibly taken from their homes and used by soldiers as human shields, placing them in front of the windows of buses carrying military personnel into the raid on villages. Schools have been regularly raided, used as military bases and detention centres. In detention, girls and boys were beaten, blindfolded, subjected to stress positions and to electrical shocks, as well as whipped with heavy electrical cables.” (UN