UK Troops Arrive In Mali To Back Up French War

UK troops arrive in Mali to back up French war (PressTV, March 28, 2013):

British troops have begun arriving in Mali as part of the UK government’s commitment to help France’s war on the West African country, it has been announced.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that some 21 soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment arrived in the Malian capital of Bamako on Tuesday.

They will also be joined by further 19 troops drawn from 45 Commando Royal Marines and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

Read moreUK Troops Arrive In Mali To Back Up French War

Is Nigeria (And Its Light Sweet Crude) About To Be Drawn Into The Mali ‘Liberation’ Campaign?

Is Nigeria, And Its Light Sweet Crude, About To Be Drawn Into The Mali “Liberation” Campaign? (ZeroHedge, Feb 19, 2013):

Precisely a month ago, when we last looked at the ongoing French campaign in Mali, whose diplomatic justification before the people of the “democratic” world was the eradication of “insurgents”, and various other “Al Qaeda rebels”, we asked readers, rhetorically, to look at a map of Mali and tell us what they see.

We even provided an answer:

“Nothing. Mali is one of the most irrelevant countries in West Africa from a resource standpoint, and what happens inside of it is certainly irrelevant from a greater geopolitical standpoint. What is more important is what this map doesn’t show, specifically the name of the country located a few hundred miles to the south: Nigeria.

Now Nigeria is important: very important. Or rather, Nigerian light sweet, one of the highest quality crudes in the world, is. And thanks to the “bungled” French peacemaking attempt, the US now has a critical foothold in what is the most strategically placed stretch of desert in Western Africa, a place where US “military trainers” will now be deployed at will. Be on the lookout for curious escalations in violence around the capital Abuja, and key port city Lagos, in the coming months once the current Mali fracas is long forgotten.”

It appears that Nigeria will be drawn into the fray far sooner than even we expected following today’s news that Islamist militants from neighboring Nigeria abducted a French family of seven, including four children, in northern Cameroon on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said. Next up: Al Qaeda is mysteriously discovered to be aiding and abetting “evil” insurgent Malians out of Nigeria, and the French campaign, with the generous and stealthy support of the US, shifts slowly but surely southward to its ultimate destination: liberating all that Nigerian light sweet oil.

From Reuters:

Read moreIs Nigeria (And Its Light Sweet Crude) About To Be Drawn Into The Mali ‘Liberation’ Campaign?

EU Approves 500-Strong Military Mission In Mali

EU approves 500-strong military mission in Mali (PressTV, Feb 18, 2013):

The European Union (EU) has formally given the go-ahead to the launch of a 500-strong military mission in Mali to support France in its war on the West African country.

During a Monday session, European Union foreign ministers formally approved the final phase in setting up the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) to purportedly train the Malian army.

Read moreEU Approves 500-Strong Military Mission In Mali

US Senator: US To Play Active Military Role In Mali

US to play active military role in Mali: US Senator (PressTV, Feb 18, 2013):

An American Senator says the United States is likely to play a more active military role in Mali, where a French-led war is raging, after the West African country holds elections.

“There is the hope that there will be additional support from the United States in these and other areas, but… American law prohibits direct assistance to the Malian military following the coup,” Senator Christopher Coons, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, told journalists in the Malian capital, Bamako, on Monday.

Read moreUS Senator: US To Play Active Military Role In Mali

French Troops Protecting Niger Uranium Mine: Fight For Security In Africa Or …?

French troops protecting Niger mine: Fight for security in Africa or..? (RT, Feb 4, 2013):

French troops have been called to protect one of Niger’s biggest uranium mines as security fears spike. Analyst John Laughland tells RT, that France taking the military lead in Mali and coming to Niger might be a sign of a continent-size interest.

Niger’s President Issoufou asked his counterpart Hollande for military help after the recent hostage crisis at an Algerian gas plant and over the growing threat of militant attacks since France launched its Operation Serval in neighboring Mali.

Read moreFrench Troops Protecting Niger Uranium Mine: Fight For Security In Africa Or …?

US Trained Mali Rebels, Commander Visited US

General Ham, AFRICOM

US Trained Mali Rebels, Commander Visited US (Veterans Today, Jan 29, 2013):

This week, General Ham admitted US complicity in training the rebel groups in Mali.  He also suggested changes which would improve America’s policy making skills and institute prohibitions on wild military adventurism.  He didn’t call it that but this is what he meant.

There are several African Studies centers in the US.  One at Michigan State University, where I was an active participant for some years, and the other at Howard University.

Read moreUS Trained Mali Rebels, Commander Visited US

Canadian Special Forces On Ground In Mali … And More

In other news:

Mali conflict: Canada increases humanitarian aid to Mali by $13 million (Toronto Star, Jan 29, 2013)

Soldiers trained by Canadian special forces hunted, tortured in Mali after failed coup (National Post, Jan 27, 2013):

Paratroopers trained by special forces based in Canada were behind a failed counter-coup in Mali last year to bring back a democratically elected government, but many have since been hunted down and killed by the country’s military.

Soldiers of the soldiers from the parachute regiment, 33eme RPC, were captured and later disappeared. They are believed to have been tortured and murdered by those behind Mali’s coup. Others fled to neighbouring countries.

What Canada is doing in Mali (CBC News, Jan 28, 2013)

Canadian special forces on ground in Mali, sources say (CBC News, Jan 28, 2013):

Harper tells MPs Parliament will be consulted on ‘any further steps’

Canadian special forces are on the ground inside the troubled West African country of Mali to protect Canadian assets there, CBC News has learned.

The special forces are not there to train Malian troops — and they are not involved in any combat role, as the government has repeatedly stressed and Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated again Monday in the House of Commons.

The Department of National Defence would not confirm or deny the special forces are in Mali due to issues of security of personnel.

But a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs told CBC News, “Steps have been taken to ensure our mission and Canadian personnel are protected.”

Read moreCanadian Special Forces On Ground In Mali … And More

U.S. May Give $32 Million To Train African Troops In Mali

U.S. may give $32M to train African troops in Mali (USA Today/AP, Jan 26, 2013):

SEVARE, Mali (AP) — The Obama administration is seeking an additional $32 million to train African troops to fight Islamic extremists in Mali.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Friday the request had been made to Congress.

The United States is not providing any direct aid to the Malian government because the democratically elected president was overthrown in a coup last year.

Read moreU.S. May Give $32 Million To Train African Troops In Mali

US Military Starts Airlifting French Troops To Mali

Related info:

The War On Terror Spreads To Africa: U.S. Sending Troops To 35 African Nations

US Deploying Troops To 35 African Countries

US starts airlifting French troops to Mali (RT, Jan 22, 2013):

The United States has begun airlifting French soldiers and equipment to Mali with its C-17 transport planes, in an attempt to push back Islamist militants that have taken over the northern half of the country.

The airlifting will continue for several days as the US aids the French government in its initiative to fight Islamists. The Malian authorities, fearing a terrorist takeover, has long requested help from neighboring countries to regain control of the north.

“The missions will operate over the next several days,” Tom Saunders, a spokesman for US military’s Africa Command, told the Associated Press.

Read moreUS Military Starts Airlifting French Troops To Mali

France Imposes Media Blackout On Mali War

Photo shows French army soldiers standing on armored vehicles as they leave Bamako and start their deployment to the north of Mali.

France imposes media blackout on Mali war (PressTV, Jan 22, 2013):

France has reportedly imposed a media blackout on its invasion of Mali amid a growing war that rages on in the West African nation.

On January 11, France launched the war under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters in Mali. However, as Paris has stepped up its ground offensive and aerial strikes in Mali few images of the conflict have come out of the African country.

French networks TF1 and France Televisions have also sent several teams to Bamako, but a media blackout on images of the clashes has confined all journalists to the city.

This comes as French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said the number of French troops on the ground in the West African country could top the initially-planned number of 2,500.

“Two thousand five hundred is what was initially announced, maybe that will be exceeded,” Le Drian said in a Saturday television interview.

Also on Sunday, Le Drian announced that Paris’ goal in the African country “is the total reconquest of Mali,” adding, “We will not leave any pockets” of resistance.

Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was preparing for around 700,000 people to flee the violence in Mali.

The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have already said they would support the French war against Mali.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has also pledged to support the French war by sending 5,800 soldiers to Mali.

Some analysts believe that Malian abandoned natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind French war on the country.