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.

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Vlad Tepid's picture

I wasn't aware that MOJWA was trying to impose Sharia Law on me.  I thought they were trying to push it off on a bunch of dirt farmers from "None of My Business-Land."

Besides one mans Sharia is another mans "Being Dominated as a Resource Gatherng Puppet for the EU/China/USA."  Let them fight out their own destiny.  May the best dirt farmer continue to farm dirt.  I probably would have enjoyed a beer with one of those dead I'll never know cuz someone thought Mali was important..,.

hooligan2009's picture

"none of my business land"...very well put

Matt's picture

The people of southern Mali do not want to be killed off or ruled by Al Qaeda. They requested aid from the West to help protect them.

This is different from Libya, Afghanistan, etc, in that in this case, the Jihadists are on the offensive, invading. The local seperatists that wanted independance for their region have been taken over and replaced by Al Qaeda fighters, just like the Free Syrian Army. 

If it was just a seperatists group fighting their government, then sure, the west would have no business being there, but this is a Jihadist invasion now, and the government has requested help stoppping them.

john39's picture

Ah yes, al-cia-duh....   thank goodness that their dictators are so happy to have them die at Nato's hands...  what a farce.

Vlad Tepid's picture

Well, by all means then...if every illiterate Turd Worlder from Timbuktu (literally in this case) wants my kids to go and die for them so they don't have to settle their own problems HELL YEAH!!  That's TOTALLY worth fact, I'll pay extra taxes just to make it happen...<SARC>

Just to make this clear, I DON'T GIVE A FUCK what politicians think is in the best interest of an irrelevant country.  It's not worth spending a dime of money or a drop of sweat, much less a French pilot.

hannah's picture

john wayne..? who is he...? l'il waynes brother or tupacs dj maybe...?

Mr. Magniloquent's picture

I've served the needy in soup kitchens, assembled and hosted a charity concert, and donated both my time and money to charity organizations since I was eighteen years old.

I have never accepted plundered "protection money" to become a mercenary, parade around in matching costumes, and kill foreigners to be a useful distraction for vainglorious politicians and enhance Raytheon's profit margin.

Which service are you refering to?

Cathartes Aura's picture

he's merely asking you to identify who you serve. . .

it's a very basic story you need to acknowledge.

blabam's picture

You served your masters well. To quote Napoleon: "A Soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon".


Louie the Dog's picture

The person who wrote this article is probably small dicked and never served.

My guess is few people that post on ZH have served either.

AnAnonymous's picture

My guess is few people that post on ZH have served either.

A different guess from here, a sizeable number of posters here served.

hannah's picture

served at chilis or mcdonalds maybe.....

ceilidh_trail's picture

slavery and serving up a kidney doesn't count.

knukles's picture

You miss the whole point.

We here at the Hedge are generally suspicious of armed conflicts, hyper attuned to propagandized rationale for governmental stupidity and....

....this has to do with the French, for fuck's sake.

What were you expecting, Dr. Smartiepants?

(I am Jack's sense of sarcastic amazement.)

Boeing Boy's picture

Hey, I am all for analysis and objectivity, jees, even been known to accept criticism.....

Vlad Tepid's picture

Two of the smartest guys I know who served: one retired as a colonel and called the whole thing a crock of shit and disuaded me from doing the same (veteran of 3 foreign wars) and the other was an AF academy graduate and professor who later tossed his commission in the water and now lives on a sailboat.  Don't give me that bullshit about "If you didn't serve..."  That's a line only the weakest of minds uses.  My whole life is tied up in supporting troops overseas and I can't see how putting on a uniform and being ordered to kill people,stand in line, fix things that aren't broken and run Chinese Fire Drills around and engine room qualify one to a more saintly perch in any political debate.

Boeing Boy's picture

Blame the politicians.  I left for similar reasons.  Doesn't mean I don't have the utmost respect for those who continue to serve.  Someone has got to do the dirty work and get mind fcuked by the whole experience later in life.  Nothing clever about taking the piss out of those who did their best but failed.  They do it for each one another anyway, most have long since given up doing it for Queen and Country, (UK Version).  Not surprising when you read the shit on this thread.


Vlad Tepid's picture

Well, if they're not doing it for Queen and Country then one would have to admit that they're basically mercenaries...and who the hell sheds a tear for mercenaries except their mothers?

If you left for similar reasons than you are a larger man than I for still holding these guys up.  At best they are pathetic pawns, at worst they are idiotic chumps.  I find that hard to respect.

I do blame the politicians...but at least in the US soldiers take an oath to defend the Constitution, not the whims of politicians.  Standing up to them (or walking away takes more courage than killing skinnies)

Boeing Boy's picture

You never know, one day that might save you and your constitution, from the seemingly unstoppable descent towards a police state in your beloved USA.

Vlad Tepid's picture

Nothing will save the Constitution.  I'm already in the process of saving myself.  My beloved USA has been a dead letter since my birth (no connection).

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

"Blame the politicians."

I think that was the general idea here, a politician decided to needlessly get involved in warfighting to distract the public from his abject incompetance, and it blew up in his face.  The French in recent history have been pretty fucking terrible at military strategy (which is both political and tactical), ergo the knocks about the results of this latest misadventure. 

hannah's picture

"(veteran of 3 foreign wars)"...the dude must be 99 years old because the last WAR was WW2.....?

rwe2late's picture

 Hollande is the French "Obama" (whom Hollande adores).

Big promises of fixing things, friend of the working class, etc. ...

but all the while, contrary to any "hope" of fixing anything,

a faithful disciple of the EU and NATO. 


knukles's picture

Nobel Peace Prize Candidate

otto skorzeny's picture

maybe gives the US an "incentive" to send in US troops to the darkie continent to establish a foothold

NoDebt's picture

We did, we have and we are.  35 countries on the continent, actually.  There was an article about it over the weekend.

otto skorzeny's picture

I mean a real "Al Queda is molesting goats" high profile attack to gin up the American public

forwardho's picture


Have you heard of a little org called AFRICON.

We are already Invested in a major way.

knukles's picture

To be engaged in 35 countries in 2013.
(announced by federal gubamint as a wondeful idea!)

Vlad Tepid's picture

AFRICOM I believe you mean...but AFRICON works just as well.  Funny thing is, they're based out of Germany...I don't know why I find that so funny.  I guess the brass doesn't want to get too sweaty.

Banksters's picture

Ever notice how every Islamic group is called Al Qaeda?   I guess it makes it easy for the plebes to understand.


Off to Oceania next, comrades!

otto skorzeny's picture

carrying alot of Libyan weapons from our little "Operation Eat Our Freedom"

Cosimo de Medici's picture

Never noticed that.  Sure, there's al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but these guys call their franchise Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.  In SEAsia there's Jama'ah Islamiya, as well as the Moro National Liberation front, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and Abu Sayyaf.  In South Asia there's Lashka e Taiba and the Haqqani Network.  And lets not forget Hezbollah, and of course the al Ikhwan al Muslimeen or Muslim Brotherhood.  No, they use the whole alphabet, plebe.  Understand?

NoDebt's picture

Came as news to me, too! 

caimen garou's picture

no,it's just cardboard cut outs

JenkinsLane's picture

Does someone want to do the "How many gears does a French tank have" joke?


I feel as though we're being thrown the ball here so it's only polite to hit it.

ceilidh_trail's picture

You mean the one with the three speed reverse and headlights in the rear?

I am more equal than others's picture

The start of world war.  China is to the east dealing with Myamar.  Japan vs China over some rocks.  USA everywhere, in our own skies.  What better way to mask incompetence but with war.  Rally around dear leader. 

Flakmeister's picture

Possible Dien Bien Phu redux??....

I.e. in the wake of failure, France withdraws from regions of Africa...

optimator's picture

Too bad the Germans destroyed the Wagon Lits car, what do the French do now?

Manthong's picture

My first thought , too.

The story of how Giap got the howitzers up the mountains is pretty amazing.. probably nothing as dramatic going on in Mali, but I am sure the French have another stellar plan in place like they did for ‘Nam..

and Algeria.

forwardho's picture

Also did not like the mention they gave to the U.S. having large investments in area.

Causus belli is such a flexible word.

Maxhno's picture

We lost Dien Bien Phu because we were screwed by NATO (aka the US).

We had to specialize in jets while others specialized on bombers.

And when it came to fight Communism... guess what... the US refused the NATO to get involved and we had to fight the war without bombers.

Another nice lesson from a long list for french morrons who believe America is a reliable ally, and even a friend of France.

And guess what... who had to fight the Vietnam war after the US sabotaged french effort ???? Yes, a country that surrenders even when the war is not actually lost.

nofluer's picture

Some good points... but the major point was not mentioned. Who were the dumb clucks who sited a major military base on ground surrounded by high ground? Duh, duh, duh, DUMB!!! (That would be the French.) I realize you wanted an air strip - but a better strategy would have been to put it somewhere flat all around, or even take and hold the superior heights in addition to the lowland. Also known as the "go big or stay at home" strategy.

It could also be mentioned that the US was dropping supplies and ammo and even a few troops into DBFoo in an effort to support the French occupation.

Sanksion's picture

The politicians wanted the paratroops dead. A threat to their power.

Look the war in Algeria. We were winning on a military scope. Politically, the government let Algeria fall to the islamists. The veterans of WWII, and Indochina, were close to drop their paratroops on Paris to seize the power.

When all real french vets and war heroes were killed or executed for treason, the french army was left to the elitist schools that have never seen war, but only bureaucracy and co-optation. We traded real experienced soldiers and commanders for bureaucrates. Much easier to control.

It is the same with the US army. The US army could win every single war, in Vietnam, Afpak, with the proper political support. But these wars were NOT meant to be won.

Flakmeister's picture

Wow, a French neo-con, aka Gaullist, here at the hedge...

Are your feet black by any chance?

Sanksion's picture

I'm no Gaullist, nor black feet. De Gaulle let Algeria fell, he's a politician, he is no Bigeard.