World View: France on Terror Alert after Challenging al-Qaeda

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • UN Security Council to meet Monday as France expands Mali air strikes
  • U.S. provided technical support for France's failed Somalia rescue attempt
  • France on terror alert after challenging al-Qaeda on two fronts
  • Israel reaffirms settlement plan after Palestinian protest action

UN Security Council to meet Monday as France expands Mali air strikes

French troops board a transport plane in Chad, bound for Mali (Reuters)
French troops board a transport plane in Chad, bound for Mali (Reuters)

Alarmed by the recent rapid advance of the insurgents into southern Mali, France expanded its air strikes deep into Islamist-controlled territory in northern Mali, pounding the Islamist Ansar Dine stronghold of Gao, forcing the insurgents to flee. France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius said that the Islamist rebel advance to the country's capital, Bamako, had been halted:

"Stopping the terrorists -- it's done, Today we started taking care of the terrorists' rear bases."

France has deployed more than 400 troops to Mali for training, but not for combat. Neighboring African countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Benin) have pledged an additional 800 troops. The U.S. and Europe will provide logistical support.

France has called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council for 12 noon on Monday "to discuss the situation in Mali." Expatica France and AP

U.S. provided technical support for France's failed Somalia rescue attempt

U.S. troops lent "limited technical support" in France's bloody and unsuccessful bid in Somalia on Friday to rescue a French intelligence agent who'd been held hostage for years by al-Shabaab. The rescue attempt was a disaster, as the agent was not rescued, and two French soldiers were killed in a bloody gun battle. CNN

France on terror alert after challenging al-Qaeda on two fronts

When France's Socialist president François Hollande announced an early withdrawal of France's troops from Afghanistan, it was thought that Hollande would be an anti-war president. And with the worsening French economy, Hollande's popularity was dropping sharply.

But now, all of a sudden, everyone is shocked to see Hollande launch two separate military actions on opposite side's of Africa: One in Mali targeting Ansar Dine, linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and another one in Somalia targeting al-Shabaab, linked to Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). With uncertain objectives for the Mali operation and a failure in the Somalia operation, "Hollande's war" may backfire on him politically, just as the Libya war backfired on his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Having attacked two wings of al-Qaeda in one day, Hollande put France on high domestic terror alert on Saturday, fearing a retaliatory terror attack on French soil. AQAP and AQIM issued a joint ultimatum on Saturday threatening to being killing French hostages until the military missions end immediately. Guardian (London) and Debka

Israel reaffirms settlement plan after Palestinian protest action

Palestinian activists in the West Bank adopted a new non-violent tactic on Friday by pitching tents and creating a makeshift Palestinian protest camp in the contested "E-1" area of the West Bank. After Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas won United Nations General Assembly approval to create a State of Palestine on November 29, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu retaliated by announcing plans to build 3,000 new settlement homes in the E-1 region. On Saturday, Netanyahu ordered that the protesters be removed from the E-1 camp, and he reaffirmed plans to build settlements in the region. A number of Western nations have condemned Netanyahu's announcement because 3,000 settlements in this region would permanently divide the West Bank in such a way that a two-state solution would become almost impossible. VOA


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