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Malian rebels to make France fight another ‘Afghanistan’
Posted By AIM Newswire On January 15, 2013 @ 9:00 am In AIM Newswire | No Comments
BAMAKO, Mali — Soon after France entered the fray of the Malian civil war, the al-Qaeda-linked rebels promised a counteroffensive that would come to haunt the European nation.
France has sent in troops, jets and other military personnel and equipment to stabilize the Malian government in light of recent gains by the Islamist rebels. The Islamist alliance, composed of the al-Qaeda’s north African wing AQIM and Malian groups MUJWA and Ansar Dine, have promised retribution in the severest form.
As quoted by the news agency Reuters, MUJWA spokesman Oumar Ould Hamaha said, “France has opened the gates of hell for all the French…She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia.”
Northern Mali is overrun by the Islamist militants and France fears it could become a hotbed for future anti-West operations. France has multiple former colonies in the region, and the rise of militant Islamist groups in Mali could spill over into their neighboring countries. As of right now, neighboring Mauritania is suffering an overwhelming flow of refugees into its borders because of the civil war.
France has publicly stated its intention of no longer being a policeman of her former colonies, but the recent instability has made them rethink their strategy. The current intervention, called Operation Serval (the name of an African wildcat), is in support of the 15-bloc of West African nations ECOWAS initiative to dislodge the rebels. The U.N. had approved the bloc’s intervention this past December.
Mali had been known as a peaceful democratic government for over two decades, until the last year where a military coup seized power. The coup led to instability in the northern desert regions of Mali, where the Islamist forces gained momentum and power.
The ancient city of Timbuktu, which is a U.N.-designated World Heritage Site and is located in the hub of Islamist power, has since been destroyed by Islamist militants for its un-Islamic religious displays. This is similar to the Taliban’s response to ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, which were destroyed after standing for thousands of years.
The Malian government is still holding onto its capital and last stronghold of power, Bamako, after barely repelling a counteroffensive in surrounding areas. The offensive was led by the group Ansar Dine, according to local sources and witness. In its first casualty, France reported a helicopter pilot was killed in action by Islamist rebels.
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