La Belle France has dispatched her armed forces to the African nation of Mali. The Government of Mali was hard pressed by Al Qa’eda jokers. These religious fanatics have lately developed a taste for kidnapping Occidentals. President Francois Hollande had to make his mind up pronto. Had he not sent the military to Mali it is likely that his country would have fallen under the control of elements hostile to the values of the Englightenment.
The African Union has also sent troops to Bolster the Malian armed forces. Nigeria in particular has sent her soldiers there.
A UN resolution has also nerved the arm of Hollande. France is remarkably unembarrassed about military interventions in La Francophonie. This included even French-speaking lands that were not former French colonies – for instance Rwanda which is an ertstwhile Belgian colony. The RWANDANDS have epxressed their distaste for recent French military involvement by switching their official language to ENglish.
I am aware of decent arguments for France sending her sons and daughters to Mali. Had France desisted from this act then there would probably have been a failed state in Mali – or perhaps marginally worse: Mali would have emerged as a wholly owned subsidiary of Al Qaeda plc. This Islamist state would have been able to act as a base for Islamists zealots to launch attacks on her neighbours. Such bestial attacks on those who are not ultra-Islamists are already occuring in Algeria and likewise in Nigeria. The people of Mali would have been heavily oppressed by a Shariat state. The North African and West African diaspora in France would have a few members who would have been of a like mind with the Al Qa’eda types in Africa. Soon this would mean bombs in Paris.
Here is the case agin.
This organisation has a very long way to go before it reaches France. It is not essential that France gets involved. If one is unsure whether to plump for armed action surely one must give the benefit of the doubt to peace. One could always take up cudgels later.
French military action may provoke these people to attack France which they may not have otherwise done.
There may well be some easy victories in the initial stage. But when the conflict becomes principally guerrilla conflict. Resistance will then be stubborn. As French fatalities mount, the bill rises and the years roll on there may be little to show for this sacrifice. Leftists will do their best to denounce the intervention as neo-colonialism. To an extent it is but this is no bad thing. Public opinion will probably then turn against the military operation.
Inevitably there will be mistakes. French soldiers may lose their temper with those who take pot shots at them. We might as well set the clock before the first case of torture is proven. The French Army is no better nor worse than any other in this regard. It is an unedifying human instinct to repay pain. Civilian casualties is a fact of modern warfare.
It was easy enough to send soldiers to Mali. How will they get out? When will they come home? It wil l take several years for this to happen. How well one be able to ajudge the operation a success. An outright victory against irregular forces is a rare beast indeed. SOme of the people France labels terrorists were directly assisted by Paris only 18 months ago when they ousted Gaddafi. Does this show a lack of foresight, consistency and judgment?
There is more to it than freedom versus barbarism. The rebels – to use that non-loaded term – are drawn chiefly from the Tuareg people. This ethnic group feels largely disenfranchised. Many Tuaregs would like a state of their own. There is probably a little justice to their case. Hollande and his fellow war mongers are helping a rather corrupt military dictatorship. This junta is more savoury than her enemies but one cannot plausibly argue that one is fighting for a cause with moral clarity on its side.
Her Majesty’s Government sent transport planes. This may induce Islamists to bomb the UK. They have done so before but not for several years. For the UK to get herself bogged down in a quarrel that is of little concern to her would be an act of considerable unwisdom. I am of a mind to say mind one’s own business. It is not as though the UK has too few problems as it is.