Friday, January 11, 2013

The Mess in Mali

Oh, when the death of Osama Bin Laden was announced did you drop your guard just a little?

Did you forget all those Bush-era warnings that Bin Laden's death wouldn't slow al Qaeda all that much?

Well, then, if you did the above, it must be a shock to learn that Mali, that country out in the middle of nowhere North Africa is a hotbed of AQ activity and that matters are really dire for the counter-AQ forces. See, for example, this NY Times report:

Mali Government Is Left Reeling After Islamists Take Village Long Held by Army:
Islamists advanced into territory held by the Mali government on Thursday, overrunning a long-held defensive position in the center of the country and dealing a significant blow to the Malian Army in its effort to contain the militants who have seized the nation’s north, according to a Malian Army officer.
How grim? The French are intervening, as reported by Al Jazeera in France begins Mali military intervention :
President Francois Hollande has said France is intervening to stop al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Mali who have been moving toward the capital, Bamako.

The announcement by the leader of France, the former colonial overseer in West Africa, came on Friday after Mali's interim president Dioncounda Traore had appealed for French help in stopping the rebels' advance.

"I have agreed to Mali's demand, which means French forces have provided support to Mali this afternoon," Hollande said on Friday. "The operation will last as long as is necessary."

Earlier on Friday, a Mali government official told the AFP news agency that the Malian army was being backed by Western military personnel in a fresh counter-offensive against the fighters.
The UN has now called for "swift deployment of troops" to Mali, whioh, of course, always begs the question of who can deploy troops in a hurry . . .

Why should you care? Take a good look at the neighborhood and think of a nest of al Qaeda vipers in the middle of it.

UPDATE: A handy BBC guide to Who is who in the Mali mess.


  1. Seems to me this is another consequence of the way the allies conducted the war in Libya?
    All our lead from behind and no BOG, let anyone takeover the arm stashes which Quadfyi planted around the country. Those were seized by among others radical jihadists including foreign fighters. They took over the eastern part of Libya and we saw what the consequences of that were. (I would note that territory was along the Med and in easy “reach” of US forces.)
    Then the radical jihadists went south to take over northern Mali with those same weapons. Now they are marching further south and the French are going to attempt to slow them down. Well the Foreign Legion could do that maybe, if the logistics were in place?
    It appears the same things are happening in Syria. Between toothless pronouncements and no BOG policy, the US will have little leverage and I suspect NATO will not secure the loose weapons much less confront the radical jihadists in Syria? So when that civil war is over, radical jihadists will start marching towards Israel maybe stopping to take over Lebanon along the way?
    I wonder what tangential course, Obama will be on then?

  2. Three things:

    Timbuktu is in Mali. Wow!

    Where is the French Foreign Legion when you need them?

    Is Fort Zindaneauf held by AQ?

  3. Anonymous12:59 AM

    I was looking at this color map of Africa you have up. The United States has had some trouble with about everyone of those countries shown over the last 100 years. We seem to be skipping from country to another country over there. What is up with that?