The news is that we, The US, will be pulling our troops out of Afghanistan starting this Spring……and that will bring an end of this chapter in American history, our longest war……….but what will that do to our effectiveness to cease terrorists from attacking our shores?

We will still be using the drones to do the work of our soldiers….in Pakistan….in Yemen….and any where else they may be needed…..with that said, will we ever use our troops in a ground war again?  My ansdwer is….you can bet on it.  But where?  Iran?  How about Syria?  If not these then where?

Personally, I expect to see our soldiers used in Mali.  Why?  You may ask.

Mali is quickly becoming a stronghold for AQ……..yes there are some in Syria but the sheer force of the group is growing in strength as it did in Sudan and the Afghanistan……..it has worried the West, though not much has been in the press about it…..and the French took it upon themselves……

(Newser) – France’s foreign minister is optimistic about the campaign it started in Mali Friday, saying it will be over within “weeks.” He rejected a comparison to the Afghanistan war, adding, “we have no intention of staying forever,” the BBC reports. The country’s defense minister was also positive, saying the mission is “developing favorably,” even as Islamist fighters today seized Diabaly, a government-controlled territory 250 miles from the capital of Bamako. A Malian intelligence agent tells the AP that French pilots launched a raid near Diabaly this morning, which marks an expansion of the conflict—until now, raids were occurring in the distant north.

The defense minister says Islamists are retreating in the east, but still causing France difficulty in the west. Aides to French President Francois Hollande say they are better trained and better armed than had been expected. More from the conflict:

  • Mali rebels have sworn to take revenge; one leader for al-Qaeda offshoot Mujao tells AFP, “France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France.” French authorities are on high alert for retaliatory attacks on home soil.
  • The European Union will send military trainers to the Malian army late next month or early in March, Reuters reports, but the EU does not plan for those trainers to have any combat role in the country.
  • And NATO says France has not asked it for any help, Reuters adds. A spokesperson says the organization is “concerned” about the situation in Mali and welcomes France’s efforts, but “there has been no request, no discussion [within NATO] on the situation in Mali, the alliance as such is not involved in this crisis.”
  • Hollande is holding a cabinet meeting to discuss the crisis today, and the UN Security Council will also meet today at France’s request.
  • The New York Times takes an extensive look at the crisis and its background, noting that the US for years attempted to stop the Islamic militants from gaining a foothold in the region. But last year, many of the commanders trained by America defected. “It was a disaster,” says a senior Malian officer. It was also an American-trained officer who led the coup that eventually overthrew Mali’s elected government.

Meanwhile, a west African intervention force is putting together the promised troops who will be sent to Mali though it’s not clear when they will arrive.

The French are a bold bunch….but I do not think that it will be as easy as they would have us believe……..why do I say it?

Newser) – The US is reportedly going to provide more tactical help to French troops trying to keep Islamist rebels from overtaking Mali, and a former US ambassador to the country says it can’t come too soon. Helping France succeed is “in our national interest,” argues Vicki Huddleston in the New York Times. The rebels in Mali have ties to the notorious Boko Haram group, as well as to Ansar al-Sharia, the militia thought to be behind the Benghazi attack that killed ambassador Chris Stevens.

“Until the French stepped in, the near-collapse of the military had threatened to turn Mali, a landlocked, desperately poor country, into a desert stronghold for jihadists,” writes Huddleston. The US is spread thin in Afghanistan and elsewhere, so ground troops are off the table. But providing intelligence, money, and training—along with pressure on other African nations to intervene—is a necessary investment. If the US doesn’t want Mali to “become a launchpad for terrorism,” it “must not dither in doing its share.” Click for Huddleston’s full column.

And there we have it…….the US will be providing some support to the French in their operation in Mali…..now how many times has the US been sucked into more trouble spots by offering to support our friends……

Any thoughts?

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