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  1. #1
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    French take military action against jihadists

    France's move into Mali follows push south by jihadist fighters

    Paris and UK warn their citizens to leave country following rebels' capture of village that had been held by Malian army

    By Nick Hopkins
    January 11, 2013


    Fighters from Islamist group Ansar Dine, mainly composed of Tuaregs, stand guard during a hostage handover outside Timbuktu, Mali. Photograph: AP

    Just before Christmas, the United Nations authorised the deployment of a 3,300 strong African-led military force to buttress the Malian army against the rebels who had taken over the north of the country; the decision came a few months after the French had called for an EU military training mission in Mali, due to deploy towards the end of this year, to provide further help.

    This could, and may still, involve a small number of British army experts.

    But events this week in the former French colony have overtaken these initiatives and have seen the French president, Fran?ois Hollande, approve military action against the rebels and the al-Qaida-linked jihadists who have had control of the north of the country since last April.

    A status quo of sorts appeared to have been established, but that has been wrecked.

    Taking everyone by surprise, the jihadists pushed towards and captured Konna, a village in the centre of the country that had been held by the Malian army and is considered on the periphery of the densely populated south of the country, which was thought beyond the reach of the al-Qaida fighters.

    Not any more, which is why Paris is in a panic, and has warned all French citizens to get out of the country as soon as possible. The UK has followed suit.

    And if the jihadists are not stopped in their tracks, the US and EU may yet get drawn into an emerging crisis in a country that some security analysts regard as a dangerous new frontier for Islamic extremism in the post-Afghanistan era.

    The attack this week was certainly audacious. Konna is barely 25km from a military base at S?var?, where the French military is understood to have been flying personnel and supplies this week.

    At the moment, it is difficult to know exactly who is behind this new push, but it is likely the group of hardcore jihadists fighting under the broad banner of 'al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb' are principally involved.

    They brought with them the tactics of terror - kidnappings of westerners and the imposition of harsh sharia law in the places over which they have control.

    They have been supported by thousands of Tuareg tribesmen, many of whom have returned to Mali last year after being recruited by Muammar Gaddafi to support his regime. Paul Melly, who has written on Mali for Chatham House, said: "This is the first serious attempt by the jihadist groups to push towards the more densely settled south of Mali.

    "If they were to break past Konna and seize Mopti, one of the most important towns in Mali, that would be a major blow to morale as well as a military setback."

    "Several jihadist groups are active in northern Mali. Ansar Dine, which is mainly composed of local Tuaregs, may be seeking to bolster its hand in negotiations with the government, which it recently began but then suspended.

    "But the other jihadist factions, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, are largely foreign-led and have not been engaged in talks. Following December's UN vote to authorise a west African intervention force, the rebels may be trying to seize as much ground as they can before international troops arrive to help the government mount a push to restore its authority in the north."

    Mali has been causing quiet concern in the UK for some time, as the intelligence agencies have monitored the disintegration of al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan and its reconstitution, in part, in Africa and the Gulf.

    Last month, the US general Carter Ham said: "As each day goes by, al-Qaida and other organisations are strengthening their hold in northern Mali. There is a compelling need for the international community, led by Africans, to address that."

    Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, was even more stark.

    "Northern Mali is at risk of becoming a permanent haven for terrorists and organised criminal networks where people are subjected to a very strict interpretation of sharia law and human rights are abused on a systematic basis."

    Which is why the French are in a hurry to act now - and why the west dare not regard the problems in Mali as a little local difficulty that can be easily ignored.

    From France's move into Mali follows push south by jihadist fighters | World news | guardian.co.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt James View Post
    At the moment, it is difficult to know exactly who is behind this new push, but it is likely the group of hardcore jihadists fighting under the broad banner of 'al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb' are principally involved.

    They brought with them the tactics of terror - kidnappings of westerners and the imposition of harsh sharia law in the places over which they have control.
    There was a radio report during my commute home. The announcer mentioned sharia law and stated the jihadists were "lopping off limbs" of those found guilty.

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    ALL PRAISE ALLAH ..He is what mercy is

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    Wonder how those jihadists will fair of the French unleash the Legionnaires on their asses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogsoldier View Post
    Wonder how those jihadists will fair of the French unleash the Legionnaires on their asses.
    the question is... who will surrender first?

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    Re: French take military action against jihadists

    Really. The French still have a foreign legion?

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    Yeah, they do. The Legion is alive and well living in Algeria. They are too scary to let loose in France proper.

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    Re: French take military action against jihadists

    Damn. I must admit ignorance on this. According to Google they're alive and well. Who knew?

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    Re: French take military action against jihadists

    Quote Originally Posted by Z499 View Post
    the question is... who will surrender first?
    Well they're not all French so thats a plus.


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    lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z499 View Post
    the question is... who will surrender first?
    The French Foreign Legion are badass mother fuckers.
    Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogsoldier View Post
    Wonder how those jihadists will fair of the French unleash the Legionnaires on their asses.
    The French military sucks when fighting against insurgents using guerrilla tactics.
    Probably the same result when the French unleashed themselves against the Viet Minh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowden View Post
    The French military sucks when fighting against insurgents using guerrilla tactics.
    Probably the same result when the French unleashed themselves against the Viet Minh.
    Damn! Beat me to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowden View Post
    The French military sucks when fighting against insurgents using guerrilla tactics.
    Probably the same result when the French unleashed themselves against the Viet Minh.
    They are used to being the insurgents. Remember the French Underground from WW2? Also I'm sure the Foreign Legion would have no trouble with guerrilla tactics.
    Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

  15. #15
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    french SF's mounted a raid with choppers in mali to rescue a hostage,,,it went tits up.

    BBC News - French soldier killed and hostage feared dead in Somalia

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