Suicide Bombing and Military Mutiny Strike Mali as France Renews Commitment to Leave

Credit: Africa TalksCredit: Africa TalksYesterday, French officials renewed their commitment to withdrawing French troops from Mali within weeks. Since that announcement a number of developments have revealed what sort of violence and instability we should continue to expect should in France's former colony.

Today, the first suicide bombing of the Malian conflict was reported in the city of Gao. A group linked to Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed the attacker and injured one bystander. That Islamic militants are changing tactics should not come as a surprise. The fact that Islamic militants have been pushed backed by the French-led intervention does not mean that the conflict is over. In the coming weeks it is likely that Islamic militants will use tactics that will demoralize the local population and pose a danger to the better-equipped French and Malian militaries.

As the Islamic militants continue their changing campaign against French and Malian forces they will be doing so thanks in part to French funds. A former U.S. ambassador to Mali revealed that some of the Islamic militants that the French are fighting received support from the French for years thanks to ransoms paid by the French government in one of the best recent examples of why a policy of not negotiating with terrorists is worth pursuing.

In Bamako, gunfire broke out as Malian troops tried to suppress mutinous paratroops loyal to deposed president Touré who don’t want to be redeployed. There have been concerns that the Malian military is too ill disciplined too take over from the French. The recent firefight in Bamako is the latest evidence that these concerns are well founded.

The French are now in the unfortunate situation that many intervening military forces face after initial victories. To leave soon would leave Mali in the hands of a military that is not prepared to fight against Islamic militants. In addition, to leave within a matter of weeks would almost certainly end up violating the French government’s commitment to staying in Mali until political stability is achieved. On the other hand, to stay would commit France to a guerrilla war without well-defined victory conditions in partnership with an unprepared and unpredictable Malian army. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • DJF||

    """which killed the attacker and injured one bystander."""

    A few more victories like that and Al Qaeda will take over the world.

  • Sudden||

    In Bamako, gunfire broke out as Malian troops tried to suppress mutinous paratroops loyal to deposed president Touré who don’t want to be redeployed.

    No relation to bootlicking MSNBC goon who thinks the president should have the awesome power to kill any citizen he deems appropriate (at least until the next red-state POTUS comes around).

  • Sevo||

    So are the French gonna stand by the runway with thumbs out, hoping a US vehicle comes by to take them home?

  • TANSTaaFL||

    "to stay would commit France to a guerrilla war without well-defined victory conditions in partnership with an unprepared and unpredictable Malian South Vietnamese army.

    Ah, I knew I heard something like that before.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    Oh come on, it's not like the US would ever follow France into a civil war in some third-world shithole, only to lose lives and treasure in a decade-long attempt to instill our values at the end of a gun, is it? I don't think that's ever happened before.

  • ChrisO||

    We'll always have Dien Bien Phu.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Learning from history is hard.

  • RBS||

    I know I never saw this coming.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm sorry but why do you announce when you're going to leave? Seems like doing that puts your troops in more danger.

  • db||

    These Islamic militants appear to be learning basic lessons of guerilla warfare. Strike and fade. When struck, disappear and regroup elsewhere. Never present a massed target for your enemy to hit until your numerical and logistic strength is undisputed. France will look the fool when they pull out after the insurgents dissolve only to regroup after the French exit.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement