Islamists vow to strike “at the heart” of France after Mali intervention

posted at 12:01 pm on January 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Ten months after condemning a military coup in Mali, the Obama administration may end up having to ride to its rescue.  Islamists in the West African nation have begun a new offensive after France sent its military to fight the insurgency, and have now sworn to open a new front in the war in France itself:

Islamist forces on Monday launched a fresh attack in Mali’s government-held south and vowed to strike “at the heart” of France to avenge a fierce military offensive against them.

Security sources reported the jihadists had attacked Diabali, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital Bamako, on the fourth day of the French campaign, which has led to heavy losses in the extremists’ ranks.

“The Islamists attacked the town of Diabali today (Monday). They came from the Mauritanian border where they were bombed by the French army,” said a Malian security source on condition of anonymity.

Diabili fell to the Islamists earlier this morning despite the French intervention:

Despite intensive aerial bombardments by French warplanes, Islamist insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali on Monday and got much closer to the capital, French and Malian authorities said.

In the latest setback for the government of Mali, the al-Qaida-linked extremists overran the garrison village of Diabaly in central Mali, France’s defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Paris Monday. The rebels “took Diabaly after fierce fighting and resistance from the Malian army that couldn’t hold them back.”

The Malian military is in disarray and has let many towns fall with barely a shot fired since the insurgency began almost a year ago in the northwest African nation.

France, however, continues to fight to push the Islamist rebels back:

France on Sunday hit northern strongholds of Islamist rebels in Mali, intensifying its military push into the West African nation as neighboring countries rushed to deploy troops to fight groups allied with al Qaeda.

Fighter jets from France, which engaged its troops on Friday in response to an urgent appeal from Mali President Dioncounda Traoré, attacked targets deep in northern territories controlled by Islamist groups, notably the large city of Gao near the front. The French also targeted sites along the border with Mauritania, as well as Kidal, a remote trading post near Algeria, as it widened a military campaign in the Texas-size desert region.

“French fighter jets aimed at and destroyed several targets this Sunday, some training camps, infrastructure and logistical bases,” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

France has requested aid from the US on intelligence and logistics.  The Obama administration may approve that aid very soon, according to the Wall Street Journal, although stopping short of actual combat operations:

The Obama administration moved Sunday toward approving a limited show of support for France’s military campaign in Mali, readying surveillance drones and other air-intelligence assets for possible deployment within days, U.S. and European officials said.

The U.S. isn’t considering sending ground troops to Mali, and the officials said any American aircraft involved in the French campaign wouldn’t conduct airstrikes. …

The limited American response to France’s request for military support reflects White House concerns about being drawn into a new conflict when it is focused on extricating itself from the 11-year-old war in Afghanistan. The White House also has balked at intervening militarily in Syria.

Any deployment in support of France’s campaign in Mali would be the first U.S. involvement in a new military campaign since Libya in 2011.

It’s interesting that the WSJ should mention the Libyan intervention.  Ten months ago, Daniel Larison pointed out that the Islamist insurgency in Mali resulted in large part from the NATO intervention in Libya:

But the Libyan war’s worst impact may have occurred outside of Libya. The neighboring country of Mali, which also happens to support U.S. counter-terrorist efforts in western Africa, has been roiled by a new Tuareg insurgency fueled by the influx of men and weapons after Gadhafi’s defeat, providing the Tuareg rebels with much more sophisticated weaponry than they had before. This new upheaval benefits al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), and the Tuareg uprising threatens the territorial integrity of Mali. The rebellion has also displaced nearly 200,000 civilians in a region that is already at risk of famine, and refugees from Mali are beginning to strain local resources in Niger, where most of them have fled. “Success” in Libya is creating a political and humanitarian disaster in Mali and Niger.

And Larison put “success” in scare quotes eight months before the attack on our consulate in Benghazi made it clear just how “successful” Obama’s war on Moammar Qaddafi actually was.  Now we’re going to have to intervene on behalf of a military junta to fix what we broke by turning Libya into a failed state with terrorist networks in effective charge of the eastern section of the country, and energizing the Islamists inside and outside of Libya.

Exit question: What exactly does Chuck Hagel think of this latest intervention?


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We are getting a lot of return out of the Cairo speech.

Oil Can on January 14, 2013 at 12:02 PM

That’s all this poor sick Republic is capable of anymore . . . “limited support”.

rplat on January 14, 2013 at 12:03 PM

France has an army? I thought they just whined to Obama and demanded America fight their wars for them.

Illinidiva on January 14, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Smart Power!

HotAirian on January 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM

France has an army? I thought they just whined to Obama and demanded America fight their wars for them.

Illinidiva on January 14, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Used French firearms are awesome. Never fired and only dropped once.

HotAirian on January 14, 2013 at 12:06 PM

France has an army? I thought they just whined to Obama and demanded America fight their wars for them.
Illinidiva on January 14, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Pretty sure that’s exactly what they’re doing now. Whining to Obama and getting all pompous about the “necessities” of an American military presence in their war that they took on.

Genuine on January 14, 2013 at 12:12 PM

What a hoot!
The vaunted French Foreign Legion (mercenaries, NOT French citizens) who has been in Africa forever, can’t even smack down these puds? The Brits with our C-17s they can’t maintain or fly are embarrassing themselves too.
Go BIG or stay home, Frogs and Brits. Ya both have had yer Colonialist arses handed to ya on every continent on the oblate spheroid we share.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 14, 2013 at 12:17 PM

… and vowed to strike “at the heart” of France to avenge a fierce military offensive against them.

I feel confidant in asserting that they would have a much easier time finding the rectum of France.

M240H on January 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Islamists vow to strike “at the heart” of France after Mali intervention

So are they going to try to destroy the France’s white surrender flag factories?

albill on January 14, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Islamists vs. France

So…

Are we rooting for injuries or what?

BigGator5 on January 14, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Frenemies

Who needs enemies when you’ve got an Obama run United States?

portlandon on January 14, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Which side is our brave Malian-Contra ally? Just want to make sure, before Terp Mole shows up.

Christien on January 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM

France has requested aid from the US on intelligence and logistics

…guess they are not aware about how well we handled our staff and Embassy in Libya with our intelligence and logistics…

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2013 at 12:29 PM

France has requested aid from the US on intelligence and logistics

…guess they are not aware about how well we handled our staff and Embassy in Libya with our intelligence and logistics…

Guess they aren’t aware that Barry and Co. probably support the islamists. Were I French, I would have little trust and confidence in any so-called intelligence we’d provide.

hawkeye54 on January 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Islamist forces on Monday launched a fresh attack in Mali’s government-held south and vowed to strike “at the heart” of France to avenge a fierce military offensive against them.

I presume that striking at “the heart” of France basically means blowing up big chunks of Paris and other major French cities. Now, mind you, I do not want this to happen at all . . . b-u-t

If it does happen to fall out that way, will such tactics finally press some Euros to take a second look at what talking softly and carrying no stick when it comes to the Muslims in their midst has gained them?

France has an immense cache of historical treasures. 1000-year-old chateaus. The castles that controlled the Seine, the Rhone and other historic water routes during midieval times. The magnificent Gothic cathedrals. The Louvre. Just about anything in Paris proper. Lots and lots and lots of targets for revenge-hungry jihadis — unless they decide to simply take out a McDonalds or two like they usually do.

catsandbooks on January 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Islamists vs. France

So…

Are we rooting for injuries or what?

With the numbers of militant muslims in France itself, we won’t have to root, the injuries will come once conflict occurs.

I wouldn’t put my money on France coming out unscathed.

hawkeye54 on January 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Karma.
It was Zee Fraunch who gave safe haven to THE Ayatollah who was ordering the murder and hostage-taking of Americans during Jimmuh Cottuh’s reign. Remember?
Screw *em.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 14, 2013 at 12:39 PM

I don’t think our Marxist-bred President is going to get all “oui- oui’d” up over this one.

Meddling and all that, don’tcha know.

FlaMurph on January 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Remember when Romney mentioned Mali in the third debate what the MSM felt was an inordinate number of times and was mocked for it?

bobs1196 on January 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Notice the grin on Obama’s face when he shakes the hand of a fellow Socialist vs. Netanyahu.

The Count on January 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Used French firearms are awesome. Never fired and only dropped once.

HotAirian on January 14, 2013 at 12:06 PM

There goes my tea… You owe me a stack of screen wipes.

Archivarix on January 14, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Remember when Romney mentioned Mali in the third debate what the MSM felt was an inordinate number of times and was mocked for it?

bobs1196 on January 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM

.
Add that one to the “Chyrsler to build Jeeps in China” headline on Drudge today.

Sadly, the Dis-honest Propagandist media determines our reality.

Not sure who is more corrupt though- the Lying Media- or the Politician who uses the lying media to fool the people.

FlaMurph on January 14, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I know it’s fun to make fun of the French as cowards. But beneath the caring demeanor of every bleeding heart liberal (or social-democrat or whatever they call themselves these days) lies a greedy vindictive bloodthirsty ahole. With emphasis on ‘greedy’. As long as bad stuff doesn’t happen in their own little paradise, they can be as generous with other people’s money as, well, as a left-wing bleeding heart.

The only question is, are there enough Franco-German souls left to effectively lay waste to their enemies as in olden times? Demographics is destiny.

Fenris on January 14, 2013 at 1:05 PM

So that’s why the French are trying to say that the U.S. is helping them in Mali. So the “Asian youths” will attack us and not them.

I love the smell of burning Peugeot in the morning. It smells like… Schadenfreude!

RoadRunner on January 14, 2013 at 1:08 PM

the officials said any American aircraft involved in the French campaign wouldn’t conduct airstrikes. …

More countries will wish France declares war on them if it means Obama drones strikes are suddenly banned.

Resolute on January 14, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Mr. “First Tan Prez” sure looks happy as can be in the photo accommodating this article on the main page. Sure is happy. Happy as can be. Tan and happy. Yep, sure is happy. And Tan, make sure you know that.

Lourdes on January 14, 2013 at 1:38 PM

…But beneath the caring demeanor of every bleeding heart liberal (or social-democrat or whatever they call themselves these days) lies a greedy vindictive bloodthirsty ahole. With emphasis on ‘greedy’. As long as bad stuff doesn’t happen in their own little paradise, they can be as generous with other people’s money as, well, as a left-wing bleeding heart.

Fenris on January 14, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Well said.

Lourdes on January 14, 2013 at 1:39 PM

I vow not to care if France no longer exists.

Flange on January 14, 2013 at 1:41 PM

And I think France is pretty well baked.

They set this up, their demise, for themselves. France has been cooking up a violent Muslim (and anti-European, code for “not Muslim”) population for a while now and I think they’ve got a very hot oven ahead of them to contend with, if they can.

Lourdes on January 14, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Let’s start charging for military aid and intelligence.

DeathtotheSwiss on January 14, 2013 at 1:43 PM

If it does happen to fall out that way, will such tactics finally press some Euros to take a second look at what talking softly and carrying no stick when it comes to the Muslims in their midst has gained them?

catsandbooks on January 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Yes, my point earlier was that. And it’s not only France, it’s many other locations in Europe, including, of all places, Switzerland. European countries — includes also UK — have been coddling a growing Muslim population for a while now and they’ve not become European, they’ve remained Muslim and not abandoned their animosity toward most things, and people, European (meaning, “White” Christian and/or Jewish).

Islam has been waging their in-creep on all nations globally for a while now: immigrate, remain low, grow in-roads, bring more over, do same, wait for the moment to no longer remain low based upon available numbers of buds.

Lourdes on January 14, 2013 at 1:46 PM

If find myself rooting for France and against our Libyan allies, the islamists.

Oh, what has become of my country?

fadetogray on January 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Oh, what has become of my country?

BTW, that was a rhetorical question.

We sold our souls to the Saudis.

fadetogray on January 14, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Shoulda started your stupid war in the outskirts of Paris, Mon-sewer.

mojo on January 14, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Strike at the heart of France?

Good god! Not the cheese! Have they no decency?

Pablo Snooze on January 14, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Shoulda started your stupid war in the outskirts of Paris, Mon-sewer.

Not to worry….the local Parisian muslims may take care of that matter.

hawkeye54 on January 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Helping the French fight a war they are losing? Why do images of a jungle in South East Asia come to mind?

Gwillie on January 14, 2013 at 11:38 PM

So the French helped Al-Qaeda in Libya, but now are attacking them in Mali?

Sounds like the French have adopted U.S. policies in such matters.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 15, 2013 at 5:18 AM