Looks like a nasty storm brewing in Mali
Actually, it’s a war that is brewing there.
This headline by Walter Russell Mead explains the problem: International Jihadis Descend on Mali. He says:
What is certain is that all over the world jihadis and jihadi wanna-bes have a new destination: northern Mali, where the ill-judged war in Libya has created a safe haven for some of the worst people in the world.
Northern Mali is controlled by a few factions of the jihadis. That makes it a great place to go if you want to plan and train without interruptions from bombs, missiles, and visits from heavy-armed & highly unfriendly soldiers.
The basic plan by France, with some level of approval from the U.N. Security Council, is taking shape. Xan Rice, in Military action on Mali faces long delay, outlines their concept:
Under the French proposal, the European Union will train 3,000 Malian soldiers. About 3,300 Ecowas troops from countries such as Nigeria will join them in the capital Bamako. Then the joint force will head into the desert to confront the militants of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in west Africa.
France is moving drones to Mali, according to several news reports. Here’s one such report from ABC.
Gathering local intel from drones would be a necessary preparation for any advance into the north.
Cooperation from Algeria, or at least permission, is critical to the plan according to the Financial Times article above.
So today’s news shows that lots of planning is underway for military action. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Algeria to get their buy-in, according to this report from the AP picked up by NPR, US Seeks Algeria’s Support In Possible Mali Move.
Mr. Mead points out the war on terror is anything but over – Clinton Arrives in Algeria to Push Mail Invasion. He says:
This is more evidence the global war on terror is nowhere near over. The Obama administration, which plans to be hunting terrorists in the far corners of the globe for decades, looks set to get involved in an invasion of Mali to destroy what has become a base of operations for al-Qaeda in a sparsely populated and basically ungoverned region of Africa.
Yeah, there’s a nasty one on the horizon in Mali.