Timbuktu, Gao retaken from Extremists:

For those who don't know, Mali's north has been controlled by Islamic Extremists groups for sometime. When these groups (Answar Dine, Al-Qaeda of Africa and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in Africa) moved south, France basically declared war on the Extremists. After a few weeks, not only where the Extremists pushed back, but the French moved north. As of this week, both Gao and Timbuktu, both large cities in Northern Mali, have been reclaimed from the Extremists by the Malian and French Army. All that leaves is the large city of Kidal, which is the base of the Islamist group the Answar Dine.

I think this is very good. I'm happy that the Extremists are being pushed out of Mali so fast, especially from Timbuktu, because Al-Qaeda, which was in control of Timbuktu, was destroying ancient Shrines that were national monuments because "Shrines are Idolatrous in Islam" (According to Al-Qaeda).

What are your thoughts?

Good. It's too soon to celebrate victory considering how big Mali and what kind of people the french are fighting. The question is whether there will still be a guerrilla war afterwards.

News here suggested the Malinese-French force being en route to Timbuktu, but not having taken the city yet, and that was five hours ago. Guess they're not wasting any time.

And Kidal is hardly a city with only 25.000 inhabitants. Plus it's more than 300 kilometres across an unpaved road to reach it. There'd be something to be said for not marching on Kidal right now and consolidating the positions first.

Anyway, it's clear that Ansar Dine as a military force is done for, but that was already obvious as soon as France intervened. The airstrikes have absolutely devastated Ansar Dine and they're basically routing everywhere to avoid French airpower.

What's far more important is what happens next. Will Ansar Dine disband, stay around as a bunch of raiders in the desert, or try to start some guerilla warfare? French forces can't stay around forever.

as of a few minutes ago timbuktu is under siege by maili government forces backed by the french. it hasnt fallen yet.

to make matters worse there are reports that the islamists have not only destroyed the ancient sufi tombs there but also looks like they have destroyed the huge collection of 12th century documents kept there as well. in the 12th century it was a major trading post and basically a huge ass library of islamic philiosophy and anicent greek manuscripts. all gone now

assholes

I expect there will be a concerted attempt by Islamists to start a guerilla war against French forces in Mali. It won't just be remnants of Ansar Dine, but foreign Islamist fighters as well. How effective and determined these fighters will be i don't know. I'm glad though that there is a lot of emphasis on troops from neighboring African countries coming in to do the peackeeping behind the French forces because the French forces themselves are more of an attractive target to African militants than other African soldiers. It's possible that France could in the long run keep a low key presence in Mali,training and equipping the Malian army alongside other African soldiers, so all are better able to counter militant activity.

apparently the locals are celebrating the islamists have been kicked out of gao and timbuktu. curiously they have discovered documents showing money transfers from saudi arabia and the news is reporting that all the support the americans are providing they are billing the french for.

i guess the us department of defence are now a PMC

According to news here, the UK has sent British a group of 40 military trainers to train the Malinese army. In addition, 200 others will be stationed in English-speaking countries with troops in Mali (not sure what that means, currently there are no such countries to my knowledge). Also the UK has offered to transport French troops and material and refuel their planes in mid-air.

I guess the training part will be especially usefull as the questionable quality of the Malinese troops was a major contributing factor to Ansar Dine's succes. It won't turn them into disciplined troops up to western standards overnight, but every little bit helps.

Thank god islamists have basically said fuck it to anything close to public out reach in countries like Mali. If they're going to burn half the city down on the way out your going to have a lot more instances of the public resisting any further plot. What I read in one story is that citizens where actually hunting down islamist fighters and sympathizers that remained in the city, which is not exactly a just thing to do but it goes to show the helpless are fighting back.

Blablahb:
According to news here, the UK has sent British a group of 40 military trainers to train the Malinese army. In addition, 200 others will be stationed in English-speaking countries with troops in Mali (not sure what that means, currently there are no such countries to my knowledge). Also the UK has offered to transport French troops and material and refuel their planes in mid-air.

I guess the training part will be especially usefull as the questionable quality of the Malinese troops was a major contributing factor to Ansar Dine's succes. It won't turn them into disciplined troops up to western standards overnight, but every little bit helps.

In MOD terms "Militarry Advisers" mean a detachment of SAS troops or some high-end PMC's that do virtually everything but "advising"...

well I can only hope its a permanent retaking, so until then I'll hold off on balloons and cake, but its a good step.

Verbatim:
In MOD terms "Militarry Advisers" mean a detachment of SAS troops or some high-end PMC's that do virtually everything but "advising"...

They explicitly denied the trainers would enter the field (let alone combat I imagine) so in this case I doubt that's the case.

Plus by now there's little role left for combat troops. The French-Malinese force have routed Ansar Dine, the military conflict is over. What remains is a mop-up operation and preparing for a possible attempt at a guerille war waged from the inhospitable northern countryside in Mali. No use for western special forces there really.

While stiffening up the Malinese army so they don't collapse like that did before seems like a good idea.

Blablahb:

Verbatim:
In MOD terms "Militarry Advisers" mean a detachment of SAS troops or some high-end PMC's that do virtually everything but "advising"...

They explicitly denied the trainers would enter the field (let alone combat I imagine) so in this case I doubt that's the case.

Plus by now there's little role left for combat troops. The French-Malinese force have routed Ansar Dine, the military conflict is over. What remains is a mop-up operation and preparing for a possible attempt at a guerille war waged from the inhospitable northern countryside in Mali. No use for western special forces there really.

While stiffening up the Malinese army so they don't collapse like that did before seems like a good idea.

They always deny what they can't sell politically, but 40 people is an odd number which sums up to a platoon of troops, a commanding officer, and a TL&S + C4I unit...
:)
There's little point of training soldiers at this stage, but inserting a small clandestine unit which can take out high value targets and run the counter insurgency operation makes quite a allot of sense.
The US green berets have the highest success rate in Afganistan, they operate in very small units 3-4 people and are force multipliers since they use the local population.
Oddly enough when they operate in Pakistan and other areas they are classified as "DoD Advisory Assets" ;)

If Mali turns into a guerilla war I hope France pulls out and we (teh brits) go in. After 42 years of guerilla warfare you'd think countries would stop asking us to invade countries and employ us at what we are good at.

I support everything that protects priceless shrines and cultural artifacts.

 

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