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Thread: French troops arrive in Mali to stem rebel advance

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    French troops arrive in Mali to stem rebel advance

    French troops arrive in Mali to stem rebel advance | World news | guardian.co.uk

    French troops have arrived in Mali amid a rapid escalation of international efforts to intervene in the country, where Islamist groups are continuing to clash with the army for control of the desert north.

    The French president, François Hollande, announced on Friday night that French armed forces had come to the aid of Mali troops on the ground. He said the operation would last as long as necessary and the French parliament would sit to debate the move on Monday.

    The French foreign office has advised ex-pats to leave Mali because of the security situation.

    French media quoted Malian officials as saying European military were present on the ground, namely at Sévaré.

    Colonel Abdrahmane Baby, a military operations adviser for the foreign affairs ministry, told Associated Press that French troops were in the country but gave no details about how many or what they were doing.

    The announcement confirmed reports from residents in central Mali who said they had seen western military personnel arrive and that planes had landed there throughout the night.

    Earlier, Hollande said France was "ready to stop the terrorists' advance if it continues". In a speech to the country's diplomatic corps, he said: "I have decided that France will respond, alongside our African partners, to the request from the Malian authorities. We will do it strictly within the framework of the United Nations security council resolution.

    "[The rebels] have even tried to deal a fatal blow to the very existence of Mali. France, like its African partners and the entire international community, cannot accept that."

    The tough-talking announcement by Hollande came after a plea for assistance from Mali's embattled president, Dioncounda Traoré, who has been under growing pressure in Mali to fight back against Islamist control of the north. The UN called for the swift deployment of an international force to Mali.

    Al-Qaida-linked groups have controlled north Mali since the army deserted a campaign against Tuareg and Islamist rebels, followed by a military coup last March.

    On Thursday rebels captured the town of Konna, less than 40 miles from the strategic city and army base of Mopti. The situation in Konna is described as complicated, with army personnel still in the town but rebels now in control.

    "There are Islamists controlling Konna, but they are integrated into the population, it is very difficult for the army to fight them," said Boubakar Hamadoun, editor of the Bamako-based newspaper Mali Demain, who has reporters based in the north. "It is a very complicated situation."

    Hamadoun cast doubt on reports that Douentza, one of the southernmost towns under Islamist control, had been recaptured by the Malian army this week. "There are some army personnel in Douentza in strategic positions, but the rebels are still very much in control of the town," he said.

    The renewed fighting follows the disintegration of a ceasefire between one of the Islamist groups, Ansar Dine, and the government. It has sparked panic in Mopti and other towns south of the de facto border between government and Islamist control, and prompted concerns in the international community that the Islamist groups – who operate a drug trafficking and kidnap economy in northern Mali and other Sahelian countries – could capture more ground.

    Hollande's announcement marked a radical departure from recent agreements that limited the role of French and other international forces to providing Mali's army with training and logistical support.

    France, the former colonial power in Mali and other countries in the Sahel region, has hundreds of troops stationed across west and central Africa. This month it declined to provide a military intervention to another former colony, the Central African Republic, whose government is also under threat from rebel groups.

    A UN security council resolution has been passed, paving the way for military intervention in Mali, but the UN's special envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, said in November there would be no deployment until September.

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    There have already been air operations. Konna has been 'recaptured'. Mali's president declared a 10-day state of emergency. As wars go this one looks to be a walk-in-the-park. But we'll see. The French were quite anxious to strike now rather than later as previously planned by the UN. So maybe the threat was worse than originally thought.
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    i'm impressed that the french have moved so fast on the matter. good for them.
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    Al Qaeda In Magreb has an extensive hold over much of the desert waste marking the Sahel, to include vast portions of northern Mali-

    Al Qaeda, Allies Carving Out Their Own Country In Mali-AP Dec.31, 2012
    Last edited by S2; 12 Jan 13, at 05:12.
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    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    Al qaeda forces picked on a country in turmoil and got a head start of nearly a year to prepare. Not to worry though, the french are now on the scene and taking care of business. I just hope this doesn't turn out like Vietnam again but I do hope the rest of the world takes the hint and kills the seeds of terrorism no matter where it sprouts.
    Removing a single turd from the cesspool doesn't make any difference.

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    i'd say 3,000 US troops here would do considerably more good than 3,000 troops in afghanistan at this point in time.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Albany Rifles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    i'd say 3,000 US troops here would do considerably more good than 3,000 troops in afghanistan at this point in time.
    But I would rather see 3,000 French troops than US.
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    Well, they already have their first combat death. French combat helicopter pilot, killed when a rebel convoy defended itself against an air raid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Well, they already have their first combat death. French combat helicopter pilot, killed when a rebel convoy defended itself against an air raid.
    At the same time as a French soldier killed in Somalia. It's been a good day for Al Qaeda in Africa. As good as it gets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    At the same time as a French soldier killed in Somalia. It's been a good day for Al Qaeda in Africa. As good as it gets.
    Put it in another way.For every one of us,we take 50+ of them.It's been a good war for us.
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    Actually, depending on which source you believe, the score in Mali in the last 24 hours was anywhere between 1:10 and 1:2.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    But I would rather see 3,000 French troops than US.
    I doubt there will be much by way of US boots on the ground. The UK has already offered logistical support. I suspect that if France needs it the US may well do the same. It is a area where the US is still streets ahead of everybody else. I also wonder about the potential use of UAVs.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    I doubt there will be much by way of US boots on the ground. The UK has already offered logistical support. I suspect that if France needs it the US may well do the same. It is a area where the US is still streets ahead of everybody else. I also wonder about the potential use of UAVs.
    How is UK in a position to offer logistical support after such emasculating defence cuts?

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    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    How is UK in a position to offer logistical support after such emasculating defence cuts?
    A couple of transport aircraft however, ''Downing Street stressed no UK troops would be deployed in a combat role''.

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    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    Al Qaeda In Magreb has an extensive hold over much of the desert waste marking the Sahel, to include vast portions of northern Mali-

    Al Qaeda, Allies Carving Out Their Own Country In Mali-AP Dec.31, 2012
    The news article gives the impression that the war in Mali will be long drawn, where is this funding coming from? (is AQ still that strong in collecting funds)
    The place is enormous, if this is AQ, Will USA send its military forces (if current operation is bogged down)?

    Hope the Mali's, French and African forces are able to end these bastards quickly.
    cheers

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