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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The reasons for France to intervene in Mali


Just when their leaders were defining a new strategy of "hands off" in Africa , France has been pushed to the front line of one of the riskiest battlefields of the continent in the deep desert of Mali.The support of President François Hollande air strikes to stop the advance of Islamist rebels on the capital, Bamako, raised the threat level for eight French hostages held by al Qaeda allies in the Sahara and the 30,000 French expatriates living in neighboring countries, mostly Muslim. It also could cause an attack on French soil . However, in what could be the most important decision of his presidency's foreign policy, Hollande bet that doing nothing was a greater risk of the creation of a jihadist state like Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. "We must stop the offensive of the rebels, Mali otherwise all fall into their hands, creating a threat to Africa and even Europe," said Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, journalists to justify supporting the ruined National Army Mali. For months, military planners had been working in Paris in a discrete and limited support to an African mission to expel planned later this year to the Islamists of the former French colony. That scenario was suddenly disrupted on Thursday when the rebels captured the central city of Konna , which is the gateway to Bamako, 600 miles to the south. Mali's army helpless, Hollande ordered military strikes early in his career. Now France has deployed 550 troops, transport aircraft C-160, attack helicopters and combat aircraft Rafale is on alert. The intervention came just weeks after Paris failed in his attempt to rescue the titular leader of the Central African Republic, another former colony, leaving President François Bozizé no choice but to accept a power-sharing pact with insurgents who threaten to take control of the mineral-rich country. Hollande's government made ​​it clear that, on entering Mali, France was not picking up old habits. His presence is legitimized by the UN resolutions demanding foreign intervention to support the forces of Mali and adopted by African leaders themselves were angry in 2001 when France and Britain ordered NATO air strikes in Libya to overthrow to Muammar GaddafiUnited States and Britain have also expressed their support, and even most of the opposition Conservatives say Hollande in France did the right thing. Shocking reports of public amputations in the rebel northern Mali, where imposed harsh Islamic law, sharia , will persuade many French voters that the intervention was fair. To come to the aid of the Malian Army, Hollande defied threats from allies of the rebels, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), killing the French hostages captured along the Sahara in recent years. After a failed French command last week to rescue a secret agent, held in Somalia since 2009, will now be very difficult for him to ensure his safety. With some of the rebel fighters from Mali living with their families, the greatest risk are the collateral damage that could undermine local and foreign support to the mission. They have also raised fears of reprisals against large French expatriate communities living in neighboring Muslim countries like Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal. But what really would change the political course is the threat of an attack in France, home to Europe's largest Muslim population, with about five million people. France is fully aware of the risk of radicalization after a gunman killed al Qaeda-inspired city of Toulouse in seven people in March. Stressing that the threat is taken very seriously, Hollande said Saturday it was stepping up security measures in transport and in public places in France.

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