French Military Embarrassments Continue As Insurgents Grab More Territory In Mali

Tyler Durden's picture

As reported over the weekend, late on Friday French forces launched a military campaign, consisting primarily of airforce incursions, designed to crush the "Islamic extremists" in the country in order to protect "European interests" (it is unclear what these may be). Parallel with this came the first humiliation for French military forces as a French helicopter pilot was killed nearly at the same time as the offensive was launched. But even more embarrassing was the bungled attempt to rescue a hostage in Somalia, in which the hostage is said to have died (by France at least, not his captors), while at least one French commando is also reported to have been left behind. Moments ago, AP reported on the latest French military developments in Mali, which confirm that when it comes to the words "French military" and "success" will hardly ever be seen side by side.

To wit: "Despite intensive aerial bombardments by French warplanes, Islamist insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali on Monday and got much closer to the capital, French and Malian authorities said. In the latest setback, the al-Qaida-linked extremists overran the garrison village of Diabaly in central Mali, France's defense minister said in Paris. Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday the rebels "took Diabaly after fierce fighting and resistance from the Malian army that couldn't hold them back." In other words, "before France sent its forces in on Friday, the closest known spot the Islamists were to the capital was 680 kilometers (420 miles) away"... while "by now sweeping in from the west, they are now only 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Mali's capital, Bamako, in southern Mali." Yet another French military campaign stupendously executed.


France is urging the "Africanization" of the conflict, encouraging African nations to send troops to fight the Islamic extremists. There have been promises, but no troops movements have yet been publicly announced.


Early Monday, an intelligence agent confirmed that shots rang out near the Diabaly military camp in what was still nominally government-held territory and that soon after, jets were heard overhead, followed by explosions. The agent insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.


A Malian commander in the nearby town of Niono said the bombardments did not stop the Islamist fighters and that they occupied Alatona, and on Monday, they succeeded in reaching the north-south road which connects Diabaly to Segou, the administrative capital of central Mali.


The Islamist advance in central Mali came even after fighter jets late Sunday began dropping bombs in the rice-growing region of Alatona. At that point, a rebel convoy had been spotted 40 kilometers (24 miles) southeast of Diabaly, until recently the site of a major, U.S.-funded Millenium Challenger Corporation project.


French radio Europe 1 broadcast a telephone interview with Omar Ould Hamaha, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, which controls part of northern Mali. In it he dared the French to "come down on the ground if they're real men. We'll welcome them with open arms," he said. "France has opened the gates of hell ... it has fallen into a trap much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia."

One can only hope the tide doesn't turn so much on the French that the "insurgents" make their way to Paris where the French army surrenders post haste.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
NEOSERF's picture

The real shame is that this is an attempt by Hollande to deflect attention from the economy, raise confidence in his adminstration and to increase employment and GDP growth through war needs...none will occur.

trav777's picture

these types of engagements are why Chirac wanted IN on the Iraq War of Busch.  Yes, he did, until GWB snubbed everyone publicly.

Operational combat experience is worth its weight in gold

midtowng's picture

Which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what happened.

knukles's picture

Give a little here and a little there and pretty soon the muzzies'll own Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne.

Holy sediment Batman!
We decant let that happen!

Where is Gerrard Depardieu when we need him?

Fortunate Fool's picture

In terms of monkeys surrending to third world, flip flop wearing, combattants, I don't think Yankees have any lesson to give to the French:

<blockquote>A U.S. Army force in Mogadishu, consisting primarily of U.S. Army Rangers from 3rd Battalion75th Ranger Regiment; Bravo Company, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), better known as "Delta Force"; and helicopters from 1st Battalion,160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, attempted to seize two of Aidid's high-echelon lieutenants during a meeting in the city. Shortly after the assault began, Somali militia and armed civilian fighters managed to shoot down two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The subsequent rescue operation to secure and recover the crews of both helicopters drew the raid, intended to last no more than an hour, into an overnight standoff in the city. The battle resulted in 18 U.S. deaths, 80 wounded, and 1 helicopter pilot captured</blockquote>


For what it's worth, no french ground forces have been engaged in Mali yet.

knukles's picture


Just one SF'er left behind after the rescue mission.
Abandoned to the enemy.

Whatthefuck?  The "rescue" mission was not by ground forces in Mali?

Fortunate Fool's picture

The only problem with people like you is that you can't even comprehend that there were two separate operations, in two different countries separated by thousands of kilometeres, with two different objectives, happening at the same time.

Mali (West Africa): For now, only the french Air Force is engaged. The combat troups on the ground are made of the Mali army and some other troops from other west African country. The objective has been to stop an Al Qaeda group to go to the capital city Bamako and take over the country. No matter what is said here, this mission is so far a success. The french ground troops are all localized in Bamako and are not engaged in combat yet.


Somalia (East Africa): This was an operation by the secret service to rescue an hostage held by an islamic group since 2009. The mission is obviously a failure since the hostage and two soldiers died in the operation. 

AldousHuxley's picture

is this like when US footballer voluntarily signed up for deployment then got killed by his own man?


French are not fighting Africans....they are fighting Chinese who wants to own Africa now with her natural resources necessary for manufacturing value-add.


Chinese playing we are better business partners game while Europeans playing we are your colonizers.


TOP Mali Exports:

  1. Cotton
  2. Gold
  3. Sesame Seeds
Iwanttoknow's picture

European are the fucking colonizers.

fourchan's picture

looks like mali is going dark aka islamic dark ages.

RafterManFMJ's picture



China "Hello please! I build you dam, I build you house, I make road! We trade?"


Golly, I wonder which tactic will win in the end?

Matt's picture

The rescue mission was not in Mali. So while it was by ground forces, it was not by ground forces in Mali.

AnAnonymous's picture

'Americans' arguing over some third world geography. None of their comical genius provide better.

Here's the resolution for 'americans':

why care? Both these countries are peopled by monkeys by 'american' standards. Just call it monkey land and it will do.

ceilidh_trail's picture

How can you tell you are lookink at a cHinEse tank? Follow the leaking oil trail up to it. For confirmation, look for the turret rusted off...

AldousHuxley's picture

Traditional African Pottery



African tanks



African military weapons



African middle class learning Chinese

Pairadimes's picture

Not inaccurate, but incomplete. The US military was horrendously misused in that sordid affair, and that was a political, not military, failure. The death toll for the Somalian militias exceeded 500 in that battle, illustrating that even misused, under-equipped, cut off and under-supported, Rangers will make nasty shit happen if the order is given.

Unfortunately, democracies must rely on the quality of their elected leadership when in these situations, and the track record here of late is terrible.


Freddie's picture

Blame Clintion.  The US Army had been asking REPEATEDLY or M-1s and Bradleys for months and Clinton kept saying no.  This was after Clinton changed the mission from humanitarian to nation building.   The Congressional Black Caucus said that tanks would not be used against Africans.   Secretary of Defense Les Aspin resigned because of this or was heart attacked.

BigInJapan's picture

Um, the U.S. killed over a thousand Somalis and wounded over three thousand in that battle.
Hardly a loss.

Flakmeister's picture

Just like Kursk for the Germans... A tactical victory but a strategic defeat....

Fortunate Fool's picture

"Hardly a loss."


What was the mission objective? Was that objective accomplished? You don't measure a military victory by the number of people that die, otherwise the Nazi Germany should be declared the "winner" of WWII.


So yes, the Somali battle was a defeat, no matter how you look at it.

Stoploss's picture

They've done this three times already.

LOL!! Frnace is trying to reverse jump the shark, and take it back 200 years, going for the Gold and slaves in the sahara.

République du Mali? 

Getting any closer??

GetZeeGold's picture



The French military gets punked.........again.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

The French should fall back to the Maginot line.

Xue's picture

Since France refused to go to Iraq, American neo-cons made French army look like cowards.

And you zerohedgers are all falling into the neo-con world view.


Just one advice:

Read History books


zilverreiger's picture

it goes back further, to the french gold repatriation from NYC by de Gaulle

Maxhno's picture

Hence the coloured revolution of 1968 against De Gaulle

Sophist Economicus's picture

"American neo-cons made French army look like cowards"



knukles's picture

France didn't leave that impression themselves. 

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

This is basically a France vs. US war.  The Mali "revolution" has heavy CIA involvement.  

mjcOH1's picture

"This is basically a France vs. US war. The Mali "revolution" has heavy CIA involvement.  "

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide."  The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender."  The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

JOYFUL's picture

Yes, your one advice will suffice...

and a very short list it need be. The French are not cowardly(and I've seen little on these pages suggesting they be viewed that way). rather, they are victims of a mistaken identity. The probable cause of which is all too likely to be books and the weighty ponderings of aesthetes such as is the Gallic specialty!

While Merikans have been content to submit to the strictures of consumerist sign value, thereby signifying acceptance of their status as self-referential objects who actually belong to their hardware while supposing the opposite, the French have effected a pose of being free of such a mundane status - and thereby have imposed an even harsher fate upon themselves, via an ironic hubris and self-deceit.

It was the French themselves who have excelled in analysis of the western condition, anthropologists like Mauss and Bataille, literary and linguistic theorists like Barth and de Saussure, Derrida, Lyotard, and a host of other 'philosophes' of postmodernism, an imposing lineup of cinematistes, authors, and artists, all impossibly brilliant, and cognizant of their vanguard intellectual role - yet sadly unaware of their own demise as independent actors, and consequent reduction to a mere parody of themselves, restaging spectacles of lost Legionnaire gloire in sordid outposts like Dienbienphu, disparate African island nations, and now this....a sort of Fireball XL5 type of wizardry played out by jerky cartoon commandos unaware of their own string puppet pathos.

A restaging of the Algerian Adventure, but with hired bad guys loaned out by US State, who now casts and directs the film-scripted futures of the forlornly fatuous was a philosophe, Bernard Henri Levy, who took the most vocal lead in braying for intervention in Libya, as it was another hebraic groomed in the very household of a CIA heavyweight who recently took lead role in the(greatly diminished)"FRENCH PRESIDENT" impersonation. How very "French" it's all become!  Doomed forever to seek after their vanished selves, the French are harbingers and prophets of the fate which waits for Merikans too - one merely delayed by the willing forfeiture of 'reality' to a cabal of media megacorporations who have arranged and managed Merikans perception of the outside world completely, ever since the "1st Gulf War"

With a hired actor in their own Presidential Palace, a 'faux economy' based upon fraud and deception, and a military might increasing projected by means of video-gaming dronemasters against civilian targets instead of soldiers fighting soldiers, we will soon enough see the same devolvement of Empire into Farce as the French have shown the way towards. As Baudrillard most presciently pointed out

“America is the original version of modernity. We are the dubbed or subtitled version. America ducks the question of origins; it cultivates no origin or mythical authenticity; it has no past and no founding truth. Having known no primitive accumulation of time, it lives in a perpetual present.”

No need for history books now, in the era of endless circulation of the sign.


AnAnonymous's picture

'Americans' know of 'americanism'

This 'american' is indeed right when it tells about the fabled past requirement.

'Americans' can not do without fabled past.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

This Chinese citizenism citizen is indeed a failed academic when it tells about the fabled past requirement.

AnAnonymous can not do without repeatedly rewriting fabled past.

But hey, such production is consumption.

mjcOH1's picture

"Americans' know of 'americanism'  This 'american' is indeed right when it tells about the fabled past requirement. 'Americans' can not do without fabled past."

You know, when they pickled Mao and propped him up in a glass box for worship by the adoring potential gulag residents, they should have wired the fucker up for sound.  Drop in a quarter and he spews gibberish. 

I admit it .... I'd have paid a quarter to see that.  But now, through the miracle of the interwebs, we get the same thing for free.

ceilidh_trail's picture

Shut up and get me an eggroll!

Stoploss's picture

Ha!! Funny.

Osiris doomed the french to this rock until further notice. Enjoy!

Cathartes Aura's picture

the inability to reflect is the lack of reflection, mirror'd image, unable to see one-self as an actor, instead identifying so completely with the cultural label so as to almost be auto-mated. . .

a sort of Fireball XL5 type of wizardry played out by jerky cartoon commandos unaware of their own string puppet pathos.

a little bit of genius in a brilliant post, most enjoyable.

living in the "perpetual present" is what children do, a sort of innocence arising from lack of history, back story - amrkns have a back story, but they also have a specially scripted Disney-fied version they prefer, and like the FantasyLand of childhood, refusing to grow up and reflect on past efforts, they continue to grab for the E-ticket ride, hoping to delay the inevitable maturing, if only bodily. . .

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


a sort of Fireball XL5 type of wizardry played out by jerky cartoon commandos unaware of their own string puppet pathos.

a little bit of genius in a brilliant post, most enjoyable.

Thunderbirds Are Go!
Supermarionation to the rescue!
Gerry Anderson for the muthafucken WIN!

[oh, wait, he died last month. nevermind.]

Cathartes Aura's picture


Supermarionation to the rescue!

another worship'r at the altar of word-craft, upcycling & repurposing the alphabet to make moar sense!!

Pairadimes's picture

Preferably history books not written by Chicoms, apparently.

Many of the posters on ZH strike me as pretty historically literate, and somewhat immune to political correctness, for the most part.

Flakmeister's picture

It is a horridly bimodal distribution, and the ones that are not literate are painfully illiterate...

Cathartes Aura's picture

your post hints at realising that "history" varies with the author Pairadimes, which begs the question:  historically literate by whose reading/standards?  which memorised version of a past not experienced nor lived are "we" accepting as "literate"?

certainly not the amrkn version taught?  so which version are you referencing?

El Oregonian's picture

Did you say "Surrender the Ammo"?

knukles's picture

He siad return the car at Alamo

MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

No, he said:

"Surrender, a la mode"...;o)

forwardho's picture

No, he said

"surrender la camode"

akak's picture

No, he said:

"Sir, render the Allah, Moe."