Mali Islamists threaten to retaliate 'at the heart of France'

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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Seattle
#1
Islamists in Mali today threatened to launch attacks "at the heart of France" after the European nation began military operations to free northern Mali from militants in a campaign that the French foreign minister said would take "a matter of weeks."

Abou Dardar, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, one of the Islamist groups operating in Mali, told Agence France-Presse today that "France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France."

When asked where the group would strike, he said "Everywhere. In Bamako [Mali's capital], in Africa, and in Europe." He also said that his group, which has ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), would "make a statement" today on eight French hostages held in the region by Islamists.

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The threat comes after a weekend of French airstrikes on Islamist targets in Mali. On Jan. 11, France – which controlled Mali from the late 1800s to 1960 – announced that it had committed its forces to a military intervention to stop the Islamists' southern advance toward Bamako, which Malian troops have been unable to halt. AFP reports that the French have bombed Islamist bases across the country, killing scores of militants and reportedly driving them out of Gao, northern Mali's main city. Reuters reports, however, that the militants have launched a counterattack in the town of Diabaly in central Mali.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said today that the French military effort would last "a matter of weeks," and did not signal a long-term presence in the country. The Financial Times reports that he said France has "no intention of staying forever," though he did not rule out a later return as "back-up" for Mali. The Financial Times notes that although several hundred French troops have been deployed to Bamako and the city of Mopti, they are not expected to be part of a ground offensive. Rather, they are expected to provide support to a combination of Mali's army and a mixture of West African forces committed to help by the regional Economic Community Of West African States bloc.

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But the French campaign may prove to be more involved than planned. The Monitor reported yesterday that while the bombing campaign has so far proven effective in driving the Islamists back, "few believe that airpower alone will be enough to uproot what many analysts consider to be a well-armed and battle-hardened adversary."

In fact, a presidential official quoted by the Agence France Presse said that French armed forces were surprised by the military capacity of the Islamist militants.

"At the start, we thought they would be just a load of guys with guns driving about in their pick-ups, but the reality is that they are well-trained, well-equipped, and well-armed,” the official told AFP. "From Libya they have got hold of a lot of up-to-date sophisticated equipment which is much more robust and effective than we could have imagined," he continued, alluding to weapons that were smuggled into Mali after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi.

In an analysis for BBC News, Mark Doyle said "It is not going to be over in a matter of weeks."

"The French military participation may be limited, but whatever happens this is going to take a very, very long time. We're talking about an area the size of Spain," Mr. Doyle said. "The Islamists will no doubt be scared of these aerial bombardments, but that doesn't change the situation on the ground really until there is political stability in Mali and the Malian army can ultimately regain control of its own country, and the Malian army is, not to be too impolite about it, not very well organized at all."

Doyle also noted that the Islamist forces number in the thousands, and are spread across the whole of the Malian north, which is part of the Sahara desert.

France is receiving non-military support for its Malian campaign from both Britain and the United States. Although British Prime Minister David Cameron emphasized that there would be no British troops deployed on the ground in Mali, he did commit a pair of huge cargo planes to aid the French efforts, reports the BBC. And Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the US has offered France intelligence, logistical support, and in-flight refueling capabilities.
When did France start going all Team America. Finally had enough, shit dicks?
 

ruckstande

Posts mostly from the shitter.
Apr 2, 2005
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#2
I keep hearing about this but haven't bothered to figure out why.
 

Motor Head

HIGHWAY TRASH REMOVAL
Jan 23, 2006
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#5
France is about to burn. They are going to reduce immigrant welfare payments by 88% in an effort to get them to self deport. Now this bullshit with Mali. This is going to give the European socialist a major black eye.
 

Creasy Bear

gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh
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Mar 10, 2006
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#6
France is about to burn. They are going to reduce immigrant welfare payments by 88% in an effort to get them to self deport. Now this bullshit with Mali. This is going to give the European socialist a major black eye.
And the bleeding hearts in America will watch France burn, and learn nothing.
 

Discoman

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Feb 21, 2010
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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/w...?hp&_r=0&gwh=F09A711B0F63EE72DF3DE3FD9EE0A18B
Militants Seize Americans and Other Hostages in Algeria

By ADAM NOSSITER and SCOTT SAYARE

BAMAKO, Mali — The French military assault on Islamist extremists in Mali escalated into a potentially much broader North African conflict on Wednesday when, in retribution, armed attackers in unmarked trucks seized an internationally managed natural gas field in neighboring Algeria and took at least 20 foreign hostages, including Americans.
Algerian officials said at least two people, including a Briton, were killed in the assault, which began with a predawn ambush on a bus trying to ferry gas-field workers to an airport. Hundreds of Algerian security forces were sent to surround the gas-field compound, creating a tense standoff, and the country’s interior minister said there would be no negotiations.
Algeria’s official news agency said at least 20 fighters had carried out the attack and mass abduction. There were unconfirmed reports late on Wednesday that the security forces had tried to storm the compound and had retreated under gunfire from the hostage takers.
Many details of the assault on the gas field in a barren desert site near Libya’s border remained murky, including the precise number of hostages, which could be as high as 41, according to claims by the attackers quoted by regional news agencies. American, French, British, Japanese and Norwegian citizens who worked at the field were known to be among them, officials said.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta called the gas-field attack a terrorist act and said the United States was weighing a response. His statement suggested that the Obama administration could be drawn into a military entanglement in North Africa that it had been seeking to keep at arm’s length — even as it has conceded that the region has become a new haven for extremists affiliated with Al Qaeda who threaten Western security and vital interests.
“It is a very serious matter when Americans are taken hostage, along with others,” Mr. Panetta told reporters during a visit to Italy. “I want to assure the American people that the United States will take all necessary and proper steps that are required to deal with this situation.”
The gas-field attack, which seemed to take foreign governments and the British and Norwegian companies that help run the facility completely by surprise, appeared to make good on a pledge by the Islamist militants who seized northern Mali last year to sharply expand their struggle against the West in response to France’s military intervention that began last week.
The hostage taking potentially broadened the conflict beyond Mali’s borders and raised the possibility of drawing an increasing number of foreign countries into direct involvement, particularly if expatriates working in the vast energy extraction industries of North Africa become targets. It also doubled, at least, the number of non-African hostages that Islamist militants in northern and western Africa have been using as bargaining chips to finance themselves in recent years through ransoms that have totaled millions of dollars.
But there was no indication that the gas-field attackers wanted money, and no other demands or ultimatums were issued. Instead, in a statement sent to ANI, a Mauritanian news agency, they demanded the “immediate halt of the aggression against our own in Mali.”
The statement, made by a group called Al Mulathameen, which has links to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of Al Qaeda, claimed it was holding more than 40 “crusaders” — apparently a reference to non-Muslims — “including seven Americans, two French, two British as well as other citizens of various European nationalities.”
The gas-field attack coincided with an escalation of the fight inside Mali, according to Western and Malian officials, as French ground troops, joined by soldiers of the Malian Army, engaged in combat with Islamist fighters. The officials said the French-Malian units had begun to beat back the Islamist militant advance southward from northern Mali, a move that had provoked the intervention ordered by President François Hollande of France.
The attackers seemed particularly incensed that Algeria’s government had permitted the French to use Algerian airspace to fly warplanes and military equipment into Mali, according to their statement, which may explain why they chose Algeria for retaliation. Some Algerian military experts said the Algerian public also was unhappy about the government’s decision.
“The setting in motion of a military machine in north Mali was going to have definite repercussions in Algeria,” said Mohamed Chafik Mesbah, a former Algerian Army officer and political scientist reached by telephone in Algiers. “This is only the beginning,” he said. “There are going to be much worse consequences. There will be more attacks.”
A senior Algerian official said the militants, who claimed to have come from Mali, had breached the gas-field compound, outside the town of In Amenas, through the use of three unmarked trucks that had escaped detection. An oil company official who had knowledge of the attack said the militants had shut down production at the site, which indicated they had carefully planned it. But how and why they chose In Amenas, which is more than 700 miles from the Malian border and is much closer to Libya, was among the unknowns.
The facility is the fourth largest gas development in Algeria, a major oil producer and OPEC member. The In Amenas gas compression plant is operated by BP of Britain, the Norwegian company Statoil and the Algerian national oil company Sonatrach.
Bard Glad Pedersen, a Statoil spokesman, said that of 17 Statoil employees who had been working in the field, four escaped to a nearby Algerian military camp, but he would not say how. “We do not provide further information how we are dealing with the situation,” he said. “Our main priority is the safety of our colleagues.”
The Sahara Media Agency of Mauritania, quoting what it described as a spokesman for the militants, said that they were holding five hostages in a production facility on the site and 36 others in a housing area, and that there were as many as 400 Algerian soldiers surrounding the operation. But that information could not be confirmed.
Islamist groups and bandits have long operated in the deserts of western and northern Africa, and a collection of Islamists have occupied the vast expanse of northern Mali since a government crisis in that country last March. Those groups, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, had pledged to strike against France’s interests on the continent and abroad, as well as those of nations backing the French operations. In France, security has been reinforced at airports, train stations and other public spaces.
The militant groups are financed in large part through ransoms paid for the freeing of Western hostages, and regular kidnappings have occurred in the West African desert in recent years. At least seven French citizens are presently being held there, officials say.
Oil and gas are central to the Algerian economy, accounting for more than a third of the country’s gross domestic product, over 95 percent of its export earnings and 60 percent of government financial receipts. Algeria is an important gas supplier to France, Spain, Turkey, Italy and Britain.
Algeria also has historically been known as a relatively secure place for foreign companies to work and invest. Sonatrach and the security forces had put tight security around oil and gas facilities during the struggle with Islamic militants in the 1990s, a period when energy infrastructure was never a major insurgent target.
Energy experts expressed concern that the Algerian raid could signal a new strategy by Islamic militants to attack the West by focusing on Western-operated oil and gas facilities in the region.
“This is a new development,” said Helima Croft, a Barclays Capital senior geopolitical strategist. She said if groups like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb “decide as a change in tactic they go after Western energy interests, then you have to look at a threat in all these countries, including Libya, Nigeria and Morocco.”
She added: “This type of attack had to have advanced planning. It’s not an easy target of opportunity.
Well now we have to get involved with France's shit again.
 

Bluestreak

This space intentionally left blank.
Sep 27, 2007
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Mawl-din, MA
#11
Radical / Militant Islamists are as abundant as the Chinks.
They have more meat shields than we have ammo.