French troops engaged in clashes with Islamist militants in Mali on Jan. 16 with backing from their European allies. Britain, Belgium and Germany are providing logistic support to France on that mission.
And so, French troops are back in Mali after the West African country gained independence from France on June 20, 1960, ending a colonialist rule that had started in 1905. There were agency reports yesterday saying that some residents of the nation’s capital, Bamako, had started hanging French flags from their windows. That could be the beginning of a tragic end for Africa’s political independence experience.
French President François Hollande, a socialist, has vowed to “crush” the terrorists there so that they could “do no harm in the future.” The terrorists that Hollande mentioned are radical Islamist groups, some of which have links with the notorious al-Qaeda. French and actually most Western European countries who have colonial pasts in Africa are defending their move by saying that if militant Islamists were allowed to settle in Mali, the uncontrollable northern part of it being at the heart of Saharan Africa, then the Southern neighborhood of West Europe could turn into another Afghanistan, a base for “terrorism sans frontiers,” or “terrorism without borders.” Somalia in the “Sahel,” the East African coast and Mali in the “Maghreb,” north-west Africa, are two sources of concern for Western Europe and North America, namely the United States and Canada, regarding the radical Islamist rise.
There were agency reports yesterday saying that some residents of the nation’s capital, Bamako, had started hanging French flags from their windows. That could be the beginning of a tragic end for Africa’s political independence experienceMurat Yetkin
While French military headquarters are disclosing plans to increase the number of ground troops from 800 to 2,500, a regional force of 3,000 from seven neighboring countries have been sent under the command of Mali’s government.