Violent Fighting and Suicide Bombing Reported in Mali

Credit: Pan-African News Wire/flickrCredit: Pan-African News Wire/flickrAl Jazeera is reporting that French troops are engaged in what French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has described as “very violent fighting” in northern Mali. Having pushed Islamic militants out of the territory they captured before the intervention French forces are now fighting in the mountains of northeastern Mali, where Chadian soldiers suffered casualties last week. 

The news of violent fighting comes amid news that a suicide bomber, who is believed to have targeting Tuaregs in the town of Kidal, killed seven people. 

It is not surprising that the fighting in Mali is becoming increasingly brutal, nor is it surprising that Islamic militants are adopting guerilla tactics and adapting to some of the technology being used in the conflict. Last month I wrote about reports from the Associated Press and Stratfor, a global intelligence company, which pointed out that Islamic militants have been preparing for a fight in the mountains and that Islamic militants would be changing the way they fight allies of the Malian government.

The increased violence makes a French withdrawal more difficult. Le Drian has said that despite the cost of the intervention it is too soon for a hasty withdrawal. The French chief of the defense staff and the French foreign minister have both said that a withdrawal could begin next month. 

France could withdraw from Mali next month, but it is hard to see if Malian officials will be in a position to safely secure their own country by then, even with the assistance of other African troops. It would not look good for the French to leave Mali only for militants to return and reassert influence, which is a possibility were the French to leave too soon.

The future of the French intervention and the humanitarian situation in Mali will depend on how quickly and efficiently Islamic militants can be dislodged from their current positions, including the mountains near the Algerian border. If recent violence is any indication the French will almost certainly have to be prepared to stay a little longer than expected before political stability can be ensured. 

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  • BarryD||

    I hate violent fighting. Can't people fight peacefully?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Seriously. Warfare is so much more civilized when it's conducted via remote control from an underground bunker within driving distance of Carl's Jr.

  • Almanian!||

    But the drone pilots are STRESSED Hugh! STRESSED!

  • Almanian!||

    a suicide bomber...is...targeting Tuaregs in the town of Kidal

    I'm a bit surprised MORE people don't hate that particular VW Model enough that they'd try to blow it up.

  • Hyperion||

    Soon, Fiats will be blowing up, blowback ya know.. Uh oh, I have aroused the war boners...

  • BarryD||

    I'd expect suicide bombers to target SUVs in San Francisco, not Africa.

  • Hyperion||

    Our resident war boner-heads will be here soon to tell us all how we just need get involved in just a little MOAR WAR and that will fix everything.

  • Almanian!||

    At least Ann Coulter doesn't think they're pussies, though. So there's that.

  • Hyperion||

    But unless they are more man-like than her, she probably doesn't have much interest in them, and I am betting they bear a closer resemblance to Lindsey Graham, since they sound exactly like him.

  • JeremyR||

    When the solution is of course open borders, invite all of them to the US to go on jihad while on welfare

  • Irish||

    Is this the latest anti-immigration talking point? The terrorists will come if we allow easier immigration? You do realize there is this thing called a 'background check' where you can look into someone's past. Then, if they aren't a terrorist or a murderer, you can let them in!

    If your argument against a position is 'If we do this the terrorists will win' you should probably rethink your argument.

  • Virginian||

    Well they're doing that in England. Waging jihad while collecting welfare. So it's not like he's just making it up.

  • Irish||

    Europe hardly has free immigration. Europe is more restrictive in their immigration than we are.

    For that matter, Europe tends to have a far worse time assimilating immigrants than we do. There are Turks in Germany whose families moved there 50 years ago and still aren't considered fully 'German.' People move here and assimilate within a generation or two. In fact, a lot of the crime problems we have with 'immigrants' aren't actually the fault of first generation immigrants but of their Americanized children.

  • ||

    A lot of the welfare is their Americanized children too.

  • ||

    A suicide bomber is an one-trick pony. No encores, either.

  • BarryD||

    There is an upside, then. Whenever a suicide bombing occurs, there are fewer suicide bombers left in the pool.

  • Almanian!||

    ...and somewhere, a drone pilot gets his wings.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Brings up a point I wondered about...

    When Palestinian suicide bombers attack, it's always a bus or a cafe or a night club. How come these fuckers don't walk into an Israeli police station and do the same, or at least show up where the police and military gather?

  • BarryD||

    Shit, man, that would be crazy! They're not SUICIDAL!

    Er...

  • BakedPenguin||

    Because they're terrorists, who want to create fear, instead of soldiers, who want to win tactical superiority?

  • Paul.||

    They have been known to attack checkpoints.

    I'm guessing you can't terrorize the general population when you're attacking people with guns.

    When you attack people shopping in a Claire's Boutique, that tends to make people more jumpy.

  • Paul.||

    "attacking people who are carrying guns"

    Why was the elephant wearing pajamas?

  • Rich||

    OT, but I see in the Newsmax headlines that Bob Woodward is calling the President insane. Isn't that hate speech?

  • BarryD||

    No. He meant it like a hippie.

  • Sevo||

    Rich| 2.27.13 @ 5:50PM |#
    "OT, but I see in the Newsmax headlines that Bob Woodward is calling the President insane. Isn't that hate speech?"
    Yeah, but truth has always been defense against defamation.

  • Irish||

    He said that calling back an aircraft carrier due to sequestration is 'a kind of madness.'

    In context that sounds much less abrasive than 'the president is insane.' That Newsmax headline may be a bit exaggerated.

  • Paul.||

    So, I've been watching the Mali news only out of the corner of my eye, and reading the blogposts here (meaning I'm better informed than the average Obama voter (cheap shot!!!)), but is it looking like France is gettin' itself into a real, honest-to-goodness shooting war over there?

    Historically, how did the French body politic (politique?) view Bush's interventions? And how did they view Obama's?

    Just curious...

  • BarryD||

    Baguette and Cirque du Soleil?

  • Almanian!||

    nice

  • Paul.||

    *golf clap*

  • BarryD||

    Pre-nup power-up!

  • Russell||

    "French forces are now fighting in the mountains of northeastern Mali, where Chadian soldiers suffered casualties last week. "

    They must have been hanging Chads-- having overshot their border by a thousand klics to cross the whole of Niger.

  • BarryD||

    Oh man... the bullshit piled up so fast in Mali, you needed wings to stay above it.

  • Paul.||

    Who's in charge, here?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Who will be the next pope?
    make your picks in the Sweet Sistine bracket

  • Hyperion||

    Hey, isn't that gamblin? Gamblin is bad, Mmkay, sinner!

  • Sevo||

    "make your picks in the Sweet Sistine"

    Golf clap with "Ooooh!"

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    Why don't our allies blow themselves up like the other guys? Our team needs a pep talk.

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