Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mali: France pledges 'short' campaign against Islamists

You would think that political and military leaders would learn their lesson and not say at the beginning of a military operations that the campaign will be short.  We know that these words will likely come back to haunt the Foreign Minister and the French government.  Then again perhaps the French do have a campaign with clearly defined objectives and will attempt to achieve them and if not in the specified amount of time they would be willing to call a halt to operations and withdraw.  But I still think that making predictions is problematic regardless of how good they think are the policy, strategy, and plans.

13 January 2013 Last updated at 21:49 ET
Mali: France pledges 'short' campaign against Islamists

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said that France's involvement in the campaign against Islamist rebels in Mali will last "a matter of weeks".

On Sunday, French warplanes bombed the town of Gao in eastern Mali, extending their raids deep into rebel territory.

France's military has been in action against Islamist militants in Mali since Friday, helping government forces recapture the central town of Konna.

France has called a meeting of the UN Security Council on Mali for Monday.

Speaking to French media, Mr Fabius rejected any parallel with the protracted Western mission in Afghanistan.

"Later on, we can come as back-up, but we have no intention of staying forever," he said.

Mr Fabius said that had France not intervened, there was a risk that the Islamists could have advanced as far as the capital, Bamako, with "appalling consequences".

The French intervention had succeeded in stopping their advance towards the south, he added.

A Malian army officer said on Saturday he believed more than 100 militants had been killed.

Since the start of the French intervention on Friday, at least 11 Malian soldiers and a French helicopter pilot have died.

Human Rights Watch believes 10 civilians, including three children, died in Konna as Malian forces fought to recapture the town.

Surprise move
Islamist groups and secular Tuareg reb els took advantage of chaos following a military coup to seize northern Mali in April 2012.
(Continued at the link below)

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