Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mali Beau

As France goes all the way in Mali, the COIN vs Counter Terrorism tactical delights quiz pops up. 
As in Afghanistan, Mali is becoming a case where two very different military ideologies clash. Whether one proves more successful than the other, or if both ultimately fail this West African country, only time will tell for sure.

Great Satan opposed France’s frontal assault on Mali, warning “that a Western assault on the you know what stronghold could rally jihadists around the world and prompt terrorist attacks as far away as Europe.” 
 Maybe so. Certain elements are all "foaming at the mouth" that wicked Westerners (and a REAL exColonial Power) are acting all powerfully colonial ala French interventionism.  
Also one of the tho'ts that guide counterinsurgency: that overt military action can at times foster violent extremism more than reduce it, that popular opinion and radical groups are often the root of the problem.

The French military is expanding a unilateral intervention into Mali, a former colony in West Africa, to roll back the Islamist extremists who had already seized half the country.  The high-profile assault is not really in the mold of either counterinsurgency or the Biden-backed light footprint: it’s more of a traditional military campaign, one that several neighboring African states are planning to support with ground troops of their own. It’s possible that the setbacks facing Great Satan-style approach were only temporary and could recover, but French leaders seem to believe that their time was up.

See, al Qaeda carving out turf in Afrika more bigger than Afghanistan pushes a few buttons - and most likely will NOT remain a French deal only. 
After only one day of fighting, French assistance had helped the Malian Army retake Konno from the Islamist forces. But the country’s terrain, the fractured nature of Malian politics, and the unintended consequences that always flow from the use of force, all make this intervention a risky proposition. Moreover, a French presence in Mali could internationalize the conflict among global jihadists, which could be exactly the outcome they seek.

Pic - "This intervention is itself the consequence of the Libyan Intervention"