BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet decided Wednesday to deploy an additional 550 troops to missions against jihadi fighters in Mali and Iraq.
They will be deployed in Mali, to relieve French forces in their fight against jihadis, and in northern Iraq, to train Kurdish troops also battling IS.
Aaaaaand whose diplomatic plates???
A spokesperson for the U.N. mission in Mali says gunmen showed up to a hotel with diplomatic license plates and AK-47s, taking 170 people hostage.
People run to flee from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. The company that runs the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital says assailants have takenhostages in a brazen assault involving grenades. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
Gunmen attacked a luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali on Friday, taking 170 guests and hotel staff hostage, according the company that runs the hotel.
Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore told the Associated Press that 10 gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel Friday morning shouting “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great” in Arabic — then fired on the guards and began taking hostages.
CNN is reporting that three people — two Malian citizens and a French citizen — have been killed in the standoff.
– Russian researchers expose breakthrough U.S. spying program (Reuters, Feb 16, 2015):
The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (reut.rs/1L5knm0)
– Ebola vaccine trials under way in Mali (The Guardian, Oct 10, 2014):
Health workers in Mali have been given an experimental vaccine against Ebola designed to boost the immunity of those on the frontline of the battle against the disease, which has so far claimed more than 3,800 lives in west Africa.
Mali has no Ebola cases but it borders Guinea, where the outbreak began. The trials are taking place to determine whether the potential vaccine is safe and that it does at least have some sort of protective effect.
– Deadly Ebola virus spreads beyond Guinea borders, suspected in Mali (RT, April 4, 2014):
Mali authorities have reported of three suspected cases of fatal Ebola virus. Liberia is now also believed to have witnessed the outbreak, which has killed at least 84people in Guinea and alarmed the world.
“Three suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever have been detected in the country. Samples have been taken and sent abroad for analysis,” said Ousmane Kone, Health Minister of Mali, West Africa, according to AFP.
The samples of the virus were sent to scientists to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now Mali authorities are waiting for the results, which will be made public as soon as they are known.
– Facing Triple-Dip Recession, France Set To Deploy US-Made Drones In West Africa (ZeroHedge, Dec 19, 2013):
Take one serving of pre-triple dip recessionary France, add a dash of US-made drones, drop a pinch of Al Qaeda scapegoating and the now generic false flags, and let it all simmer in the latest global conflict in which the uninvited west has decided it is its moral role to intervene, and what you get is the latest hilarious development out of military superpower France, which is now preparing to unleash US drones in West Africa. The comedic possibilities one ends up with are countless.
– A Plea for Caution From Russia (New York Times, Sep 11, 2013):
By VLADIMIR V. PUTIN
What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria
MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.
Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.
– THE TERROR DIASPORA: US spreads blowback nightmare (Asia Times, June 20, 2013):
The Gulf of Guinea. He said it without a hint of irony or embarrassment. This was one of US Africa Command’s big success stories. The Gulf … of Guinea.
Never mind that most Americans couldn’t find it on a map and haven’t heard of the nations on its shores like Gabon, Benin, and Togo. Never mind that just five days before I talked with AFRICOM’s chief spokesman, the Economist had asked if the Gulf of Guinea was on the verge of becoming “another Somalia”, because piracy there had jumped 41% from 2011 to 2012 and was on track to be even worse in 2013.
The Gulf of Guinea was one of the primary areas in Africa where “stability,” the command spokesman assured me, had “improved significantly,” and the US military had played a major role in bringing it about. But what did that say about so many other areas of the continent that, since AFRICOM was set up, had been wracked by coups, insurgencies, violence, and volatility?
– Islamist bombers kill 20 in Niger attacks (AFP, May 23, 2013):
NIAMEY (AFP) – Islamist militants staged twin suicide car bombings on an army base and a French-run uranium mine in Niger on Thursday, killing at least 20 people in retaliation for the country’s military involvement in neighbouring Mali.
Niger’s Defence Minister Mahamadou Karidjo said the last Islamist was neutralised at the army base and denied early reports that a suicide attacker had held young army recruits hostage.
The attacks come just four months after Al-Qaeda linked militants seized a desert gas plant in neighbouring Algeria in a siege that left 38 hostages dead, also in retaliation against the intervention in Mali.