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Mali Conflict Explodes into Ground War, Hostage Crisis

Mali Conflict Explodes into Ground War, Hostage Crisis

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • France launches ground campaign in Mali
  • Islamist militants seize gas complex in Algeria, with dozens of hostages
  • Britain prepares for a new Falklands war

France launches ground campaign in Mali

'In Amenas' gas facility in Algeria, where militants are holding hostages
‘In Amenas’ gas facility in Algeria, where militants are holding hostages

It’s been almost a year since France was advocating military action inMali ( “13-Jul-12 World View — France expects the West to deploy military forces in Mali”),and two weeks ago the plan was to take some action possibly nextSeptember. Then last week, France was going to train Mali’sarmed forces and conduct some air strikes, but the operationwould be over in a few weeks, and there would be absolutelyno French combat troops in Mali.

All that planning is now out the window, after the Islamist militantsstarted moving to take control of the entire country. France sentcombat troops into Mali on Wednesday to assault Islamist rebels. Theground troops are thought to be necessary because any delay infollowing up on the air strikes would allow the rebels to withdrawinto the desert, reorganize and mount a counter-offensive. France isgetting some support from other countries. Britain and Germany aresupply military transport planes, and the U.S. is consideringlogistical and surveillance support. Reuters

Islamist militants seize gas complex in Algeria, with dozens of hostages

Islamist militants had promised revenge for France’s military actionin Mali, and on Wednesday they kept their promise by seizing a gasproduction facility operated by the Algerian state oil company,Sonatrach, along with the British oil company BP and Norway’s Statoil.About 20 foreign workers are being held captive, including 7Americans, are being held hostage. The militants are associated withAl-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

An Algerian analyst that I heard interviewed on the BBC on Wednesdaysaid that Algerian security forces knew that some sort of retaliationwas coming, and that an attack on such an obvious target should easilyhave been prevented. He pointed out that several of the top levelofficers in AQIM have backgrounds in Algerian intelligence services,and so Algerian security forces may have been complicit in the captureof the gas facility. He said that Algeria was opposed to any kind ofWestern intervention in Mali from the start, and they wereparticularly opposed to intervention from France, so this may havebeen their way of getting revenge. BBC

Britain prepares for a new Falklands war

In 1982, Britain’s armed forces recaptured the Falkland Islands in atwo-month battle, after an invasion by Argentina to take control ofLas Malvinas — Argentina’s name for the Falklands. Argentina hasnever given up its claims to the islands, and president Cristina deKirchner has become increasingly strident in those claims. Fearing anew invasion by Argentina, Britain’s military planners are activelyconsidering military options to be used, if they becomenecessary. These options could involve the deployment of the RoyalNavy’s Response Task Force Group, a flotilla comprising destroyers, afrigate, a submarine and commandos. However, some analysts outside ofBritain are suggesting that if Argentina captured the islands again,as they did in 1982, then Britain would no longer have the militarycapability to dislodge them. Telegraph (London) and Russia Today

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