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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 02:19 PM

In Mali, the Peril of Guerrilla War Looms

Source: New York Times

...The battle for Mali is not over. Remnants of the militant forces that once controlled major towns have not simply burrowed into their rugged, mountain hideaways far to the north. They also appear to have taken refuge in smaller villages nearby, essentially pulling back to less-contested ground after the French-led intervention to oust them, residents and experts say.

That infiltration, in a string of neighboring villages along the Niger River, is what enabled last Sunday’s attack in the heart of Gao, a town of about 86,000 whose reconquest was a pivotal part of the French offensive last month. For hours, bullets flew as jihadists from around Gao pinned down French and Malian forces. Control in the town itself has now been re-established, but Islamist fighters have blended imperceptibly with the local population around Gao. And much of that population, in the isolated villages, looks on them benevolently, say residents and experts who know the area well.

“The jihadists are still in the environs,” a Malian Army commander, Col. El Hajj Ag Gamou, said in a telephone interview from Gao. “They are certainly around. There are small caches of them, in hiding, 40, 80 miles from here.”

Their presence suggests potentially fertile ground for a sustained guerrilla conflict — something the French have said they are determined not to get enmeshed in. Though the lightning-quick French campaign in January succeeded in pushing the Islamists from major towns, it is far from clear how many fighters the French actually eliminated. Estimates of deaths, from both the French and the Malians, have been vague and inconsistent, and the jihadists are evidently still lurking in the shadows.



Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/world/africa/militants-infiltrate-towns-in-freed-areas-of-mali.html?ref=world&_r=0



France's glorious intervention is about to turn into a tawdry, sordid little guerrilla war.

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Reply In Mali, the Peril of Guerrilla War Looms (Original post)
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 OP
formercia Feb 2013 #1
pangaia Feb 2013 #2

Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 02:23 PM

1. The US Captured Iraq and Afghanistan in a matter of Weeks.

Then why are we still there?

I think the French will be there for a while yet.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:34 PM

2. I have tried to follow what is going on in Mali

since I first became aware..several months ago.(I have a friend who is from Mali)
This is all very frightening. Seems to be getting more and more complicated..or maybe always was ...
In talking with her she, I learned that she has known of these Wahhabis and general fundamentalist 'pockets' for years.
She said to me once something like, and I paraphrase, "Be careful of your American fundamentalists. They have the same disease.
Whoee !!

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