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French attack al-Qaida linked groups in western Africa

As the United States “winds-down” efforts against Islamic terrorist organizations in Asia, the French are ramping-up against Islamist militants in the African nation of Mali. The French are using fighter jets to pound al-Qaida linked training camps in the northern part of the country.

The Republic of Mali has been in turmoil for about a year after soldiers overthrew the democratic government in March 2012. In part, this was related to the so-called Arab Spring in the region. After the overthrow, Mali rebels took over great portions of the northern part of the country calling for an independent state. As I understand it, rebel forces in the north joined with Al-Qaida linked fundamentalists, formed training camps and dropped their insistence for an independent state. Instead, they started moving forces south to take over more area and more of the countries population.

You did not hear about this in the US news, but the French unilaterally committed to send troops to Mali on Friday and fighter jets bombed areas in the north. The fight against al-Qaida and Islamic fundamentalist organizations – it seems – will continue as nothing but the venue changes. From the UK Guardian.

Islamist militants are fleeing major towns in northern Mali after two days of air strikes by French troops, which sources say have left scores of rebels dead.

French fighter jets have pounded insurgent training camps, arms and oil depots as the French defence ministry confirmed reports of Islamist deaths, together with at least 11 civilians including three children.

“Mali is now at the mercy of the French army,” said a well-connected Malian official in Bamako. “They are bombing the north, they have killed many terrorists. The Islamists have been running into the desert – they have deserted Gao and Timbuktu.”

Residents in Gao confirmed French jets had struck the airport as well as the building that served as the base for the town’s feared Islamic police. “The planes are so fast you can only hear their sound in the sky,” Soumaila Maiga told Reuters. “We are happy, even though it is frightening. Soon we will be delivered.”

Be certain this is a complicated story, and I’ve admittedly provided only brief background since I know only what I’ve read in three or four articles and one video. If interested, you should certainly research on your own. That said, I found it interesting the French took action so quickly with Britain and the United States providing help with logistics and communications only.

For the last four months, many in Mali have been complaining about military intervention by other west-African troops and they are not happy about French intervention either. Others are happy fighting that has been pushing south may not push them from their homes.

Update: Just this morning, news is reaching the US press. The New York Times has the following…

Matching military power with diplomacy, France called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council for Monday, one day after Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country’s dramatic intervention in Mali had succeeded in blocking an Islamist advance toward the capital that could have had “appalling consequences.”

French forces, he said in a radio interview late Sunday, were now “taking care” of rear bases used by Islamists who took control of much of the north of the country last year after a military coup in the capital, Bamako. The duration of the French operation was “a question of weeks,” Mr. Fabius said, unlike, he insisted, the American-led military campaign in Afghanistan.

Ahh yes, French intervention equals short-term and good, where US actions in Afghanistan has been long and bad. The approved standard now is to bomb the living crap out of the area and move on claiming victory. Let’s keep that in mind shall we? The New York Times did not mention the 11 civilians and three dead children mentioned by the UK Guardian.

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17 Responses to "French attack al-Qaida linked groups in western Africa"

  1. JBS says:

    More of a parallel with Viet Nam. A former French colony. Only the French are the communists now.
    If the French get their butts kicked by the dreaded Al Qaeda, will the US take over the fight?
    Nah. Øbama is too cozy with the Muslims.

  2. SeeingRed says:

    The French.  Attack?  Question: as they attack will they automatically deploy a Maginot Line?  AQ is not afraid of France.

  3. gillie28 says:

    Mali and France had off again/on again relationship since 1960′s when it became independent of France.  Lots of coverage of this current action in EU papers.  UK offered support with supplies, but news just out that one of their planes broke down on the runway.  Poor Cameron just can’t get a break with the French!

  4. Lynn says:

    I will wait and see if Mr. Fabius is right. As JBS points out there are parallels with Vietnam. Can France resist the impulse to declare war, so that they can help their financial mess? Many nations use war to bolster their economy. However in my book, any country that takes on al-Quaida earns points with me.

  5. JBS says:

    I suggest that everyone get familial with this conflict.
     
    France has chosen (perhaps at the behest of the US?) to challenge Al Qaeda in region. This is an immense territory. If you have a familiarity with Viet Nam, the rebels have an, er affinity, with the Al Qaeda. This is a failure of our Libyan strategies. Remember the four dead Americans at the Consulate? This is where that debacle is rearing its ugly head and is headed. Courtesy of, none other than, Mrs. Clinton.
    Look for Øbama to get us, the US, into an ugly confrontation with the MuslimSupremacy(C).  He will lose American lives, kowtow to the Muslims and then reach an Accord with the Islamists.
    Look for it.

  6. ricbee says:

    Sounds like a good framework for Iran,bomb them into the sand & take it on the lam.

  7. GdavidH says:

    This will do well for the Obama policy of appeasement and friendship. Perhaps he can arrest and detain the French. We would not want to upset the muslims.

  8. gillie28 says:

    Monsieur Hollande has so annoyed the French, with plunging popularity, he’s following the age-old political tactic of distraction-by-war.  Although, he was voted in with a huge majority so who’s fault is it really?????

  9. gillie28 says:

    On the other hand, Al-qaida practically have their own, separate nation in a part of Mali and they’re a little too close for European comfort.

  10. wildcat says:

    “Interesting” timing……  Seven  American oil field contractors allegedly kidnapped by Islamists in Algeria and held hostage. Alleged retaliation for Western countries’ actions in Mali. Suspect more American military action to follow…..

  11. JollyRoger says:

    The Mission Civilisatrice continues…  None of this would be happening if only those silly Africans would just put on their berets and start acting French!  

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