France pressing for Western military intervention in Mali, claim sources

Mali and the Independent State of AzawadBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
The government of France is holding secret talks with American and other Western officials to explore options for a concerted military intervention in Mali, according to diplomatic sources. A Tuareg rebellion in the northern part of Mali, which began earlier this year, culminated in the unilateral declaration of the Independent State of Azawad. The new state, which borders Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso, is controlled by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA). The NMLA is partially staffed by former members of the Libyan Army during the rule of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. But it is also said to incorporate armed members of Ansar Dine, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), all of which claim to have links with al-Qaeda. Many French observers view the Independent State of Azawad as the African version of mid-1990s Afghanistan, which eventually served as the base for Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. But even though the French government has come out in favor of armed intervention in northern Mali, it has denied persistent rumors that it is contemplating sending French troops in the West African country. Instead, Paris officially favors intervention by the Malian Army backed by African Union troops and using logistical support provided by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). However, in an article published yesterday, The Associated Press claimed that, behind the scenes, the French government is trying to convince the US and other Western countries to participate in a military intervention in Mali. The article cited anonymous French and American diplomats in claiming that senior officials from both countries are secretly meeting in Paris this week to discuss “intelligence gathering and security” in Mali. The diplomats, who spoke to the news agency “on condition of anonymity”, said that participants in the secret meeting included US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. The article also claimed that Paris intends to transfer several unmanned surveillance drones from Afghanistan to western Africa before the end of the year. The AP reporter contacted a US State Department spokesman, who said he was unaware of any French military or done deployment in Mali, and added that Washington and Paris were closely working with African nations “on a plan to address the crisis”.

6 Responses to France pressing for Western military intervention in Mali, claim sources

  1. Kidd says:

    correct me if i’m wrong, but wasn’t it the french who starred in and promoted the libyian bidness ? the mercenary trade is on the upswing.

  2. davidi says:

    to kidd says: so what?! it doesn’t mean that french cannot do it again…

  3. askari says:

    Not sure the author knows that much about events in the region the MNLA has been dead in the water for a number of months now with seriously diminished military and financial capacity when compared to other groups and has zero indigenous support.

    They were kicked out of their principle bastion of Gao months ago in a combined military effort by MUJAO forces and those of AQIM Emir Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

    The three main organisations would be AQIM, Ansar Dine and MUJAO none of which can say they have control over an “Azawad State” (which was entirely an MNLA concept).

  4. Our plans will work long in advance of the news of this getting around.

  5. Like Afghanistan Mali has been a basket case, primarily as a French possession, since the late 1800s.

    Like Somalia, the venue for Blackhawk Down, Mali is a country 90% of Americans have never heard of and of marginal interest to US foreign policy.

    NATO can wreck Mali for US$5 billion per day just as it wrecked Libya.

    American troops are now supposed to die in Mali, fighting for French neo-colonialism. It will cost the cash strapped US taxpayer more that US$2 billion per day for the privilege.

    However Finding Wars to fight is essential for the survival of the US political-defense industry-Pentagon complex. It will look appropriate for Obama after his Nov victory and the Press will love it.

    It will also generate a major Jihadi-AQ problem where there is little at present.


  6. al cater says:

    The Malis are coming. the malis are coming. everybody to get from strit! soon the mali terrorist will be converting you by sword, raping your women, and killing your children. we must help our french brothers and save ourselves from these barbarians who want to destroy our freedom.

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