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Good(ish) news from Mali

January 16, 2013

It looks like the Franco-British intervention in Mali, the African nation being terrorised and under threat of being taken over by Islamist Bearded Savages, is starting to yield positive results.

The French news source France 24 reports that ordinary Malians are celebrating attacks on Islamic terror groups that are being discomforted by air strikes. It appears that the Islamic terrorists have been almost driven out of town of Gao and despite a few setbacks elsewhere in the country, and pockets of resistance in Gao itself, the Islamic terrorists are not having everything their own way.

France 24 said:

“The Islamist rebels who have occupied Gao since April 2012 are being driven out of the city following France’s decision last week to intervene militarily in its former colony. Gao is still not completely liberated, but residents have already begun celebrating in the streets and allowing themselves the small indulgences outlawed by the Islamist extremists’ strict interpretation of Sharia Law.

After having blocked the Islamists’ advance south on Sunday, French forces destroyed various Islamist positions from the air, including arms depots belonging to Ansar Dine and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the northern Kidal region. Further south in Gao, at least 60 rebels were killed in air bombardments targeting the city’s periphery. Gao had been in the firm grip of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).

But the Islamist rebels are not giving up without a fight. They have now taken control of Diabaly, a town in central Mali, 400km from the capital Bamako, with a population of 35,000.”

It is an indication of how much these Islamic terror groups have oppressed the average Malian, with Shariah Law, oppression of women and the banning of music, that even though residents of Gao are not completely free of Bearded Savage control, they are prepared to come out on the streets to celebrate their ongoing liberation.

France 24 in their report, quoted anonymously a member of a group of Malian citizens opposed to the Islamic terrorists who said:

“When the air strikes ended on Sunday, people spontaneously went out into the streets to celebrate. Lots of them were on the edges of the roads, discussing, laughing and mocking the Islamists who were packing up to leave.

It’s as if the panic has changed camps. We started smoking to celebrate. It was the first time in months! [Editor’s note: smoking in public places was forbidden by the Islamist rebels].

We’re hardly seeing any of the Islamists’ 4x4s, whereas before, we saw them all the time. We didn’t see heavy weapons on the vehicles leaving Gao.

The Islamists are still here, but most of them are hiding. It appears there have been a lot of deserters from the Islamist camp, particularly residents who had joined up with them in an opportunistic way.

Some of the Islamists are trying to tell people in the street that the situation is under control and that they are advancing on Bamako [Editor’s note: On Tuesday 15 January, a member of Ansar Dine stated the Islamists’ decision to abandon parts of the north and head south was a strategic decision].

There’s quite a strange feeling amongst Gao’s residents. We’re happy and worried at the same time. Happy to have some freedom back, to live through the ‘liberation of Gao’ – it’s an historic moment. But there’s concern that supplies for residents could become scarce and bandits from the desert could enter the city to loot [Editor’s note: under the Islamists’ strict interpretation of Sharia Law, criminals and bandits were heavily punished].”

It appears that there are those who have joined with the Islamic terrorists for opportunistic reasons (just like the original ‘Mohammed Gang’ from the 7th Century Arabian peninsular) and these hangers on, now appear to be leaving the Islamic terror groups.  To deal with these opportunistic bandits the Western powers must work with the Malian government to enforce law and order in these former rebel held areas so as to prevent the Islamic regaining a foothold by promising ordinary Malians that they will reduce attacks by such bandits.

Here is another account quoted in France 24 from a Malian teacher resident in Gao.

“On Sunday, at about half past midday, we heard lots of aeroplanes flying above our houses and heading north. There were dozens explosions and shots, which lasted half an hour. After that, we didn’t hear anything. I stayed at home until 4 o’clock to be safe, then I went out into the street.

Lots of people in Gao were curious about what had happened. Some of them went up into the north of the city to find out what had been hit. I saw numerous armed Islamist groups patrolling the roads in vehicles. It cannot be said that Gao has been totally liberated, but it seems like half of the jihadists have left the city.

We feel like something has changed since Sunday, people feel freer. The Islamists went through the streets but they weren’t stopping people. They seemed preoccupied and nervous.

Prisoners were set free, and some of them cried ‘Thank you France’, and even, ‘Long live François Hollande!”

M Hollande being hailed as a war leader? I never would have thought I would see such a thing. Next thing we know people will stop making anti French jokes such as: ‘For sale: One early 20th century French infantry rifle, dropped twice, never fired’.

Like many British observers of the situation, I also worry that we as nation will find our military dragged into a ‘boots on the ground’ situation in Mali, but this conflict appears much different from similar conflicts elsewhere, especially with regards to the attitudes of the native Malians to the Franco-British forces. Unlike in Afghanistan, there appears to be a broad agreement between all anti terror parties including the Malian Government that these Islamic terror groups are a problem. Most importantly Western troops are seen as liberating the Malian people from a form of violent Islam that is alien to the type of relatively benign form of Islam practised in Mali.

Fighting the Islamic terrorists who are afflicting Mali, will not be accomplished overnight but it is something that needs to be done, not just for geopolitical reasons, but because it is a moral imperative to fight to free the Malians from the death-grip of Islamic terror. I only hope that now David Cameron and M Hollande have grown enough balls to fight Islamic terror and aggression overseas, they will undertake the same fight against Islamic aggression in their home countries. Fighting the vile oppressive ideology of Islam is not something that can only be done in ‘far away countries of which we know little’, it must not be forgotten that there is a ‘home front’ to this battle as well.

Links

Original France 24 article

http://observers.france24.com/content/20130115-mali-islamist-rebels-gao-jump-ship-residents-smoked-streets-celebrate-ansar-dine-mujao-bamako-france-diabaly

Troops of French and other nationalities prepare for ground assault on Islamic terrorists in Mali

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/mali/9804875/Mali-conflict-French-troops-prepare-for-ground-offensive.html

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