Can’t blame them: they have the stomach for snails and frog’s legs—but not Islamist insurgency:
France is still ready to start pulling its forces out of Mali next month despite a rebel attack on the key northern town of Gao, the French head of the armed force said on Friday.
Fox Butterfield, is that you? They’re not leaving despite jihadist madmen but because of them!
France’s defense minister had earlier said Paris could start pulling out troops in early March.
Asked whether this was still the plan, Guillaud replied: “This is obviously conditions-based, that’s obvious. But yet, I don’t see any reason not to begin some drawdown.”
“It’s simply the continuation of attacks by MUJWA which will probably want to try more attacks in the coming days. It was sadly predictable and the next attacks will fail just like they did yesterday,” he said.
Separately on Friday, five people were killed in two car bomb attacks by Islamists on pro-autonomy MNLA Tuareg rebels in a remote Malian town bordering Algeria, an MNLA spokesman said.
Violence in the north reinforces the risk of French and African forces becoming entangled in a guerrilla war as they try to help Mali’s weak army counter al Qaeda-linked rebels.
Pressed on whether he was worried the attacks meant France would be staying in Mali longer than anticipated, Guillaud replied “No.”
“Non”, to be precise.
France has discovered what we discovered in Afghanistan: that it’s easy to kill the Islamist enemy in overwhelming proportions, but much more difficult to eradicate them completely. Remember the kill ratios in the early days against the Taliban? 100-1, 150-2—it was a turkey shoot. Still, like cockroaches, they survived.
Cockroaches… given the French proclivity for exotic foods, they could always eat their enemy.
Anyhow, the oxymoronically named Malian Army won’t keep Al Qaeda at bay for long, so here’s predicting the renaming of Timbuktu as Bin Ladenville by summertime.