I had been thinking of not posting anything this week on Mali. Then I realized the U.S. is tip-toeing into what looks more and more like an extended guerilla war.
2-22 – Wall Street Journal – Defenders Outgunned by Islamists in Desert
Extended gun battle in Gao Thursday ended on arrival of French troops. Apparently the Islamists (WSJ term) have no shortage of small arms and ammunition. Malian troops comment on poor weapons and limited ammo.
2-22 – Via Meadia – Mali War Heads into Overtime
Talking about the WSJ article above, Via Meadia also points out the large amount of heavy weapons in the militant’s arsenal. Which by way of tracking the source, came from Libya.
Here’s the combination of factors that is a bad omen for the future:
Meanwhile, the Malian Army is a shambles. This is not a surprise. The government is a mess, and there is no higher cause to motivate underpaid, undertrained, badly led soldiers to fight and die.
The rebels, on the other hand, believe in what they are doing.
2-23 – Los Angeles Times – U.S. sends troops to Niger for drone missions
There are now 100 U.S. troops on the ground in Niger to operate Predator drones over Mali. My guess is they are all Air Force. The Predator drones are already operating.