US Drones, Boots Arrive In Mali

Tyler Durden's picture

Absolutely "nobody" could have possibly anticipated that the week old French incursion into Mali could already have such disastrous consequences: a botched hostage rescue attempt by French commandos while leaving behind one of their team, a downed pilot on the first day of the confrontation, rebels that succeeded in capturing a strategic village and military post, and today, yet another hostage crisis in Algeria that has seen tens of hostages killed, potentially including Americans, following another botched rescue operation. Yet, in some ways, perhaps the stars have aligned just right for the US, which as Bloomberg reports, has wasted no time in sending not only drones in the air, but also boots on the ground.

From Bloomberg:

  • U.S. military trainers are expected to arrive in West Africa this weekend to train local military forces to fight Islamist insurgents including those now battling French and local government troops in Mali, State Dept. spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says in Washington.
  • U.S. now providing intelligence, airlift to French troops fighting insurgents in Mali
  • No U.S. troops to operate in Mali; U.S. barred from providing direct assistance to Mali military

So on one hand the US is barred from providing direct assistance, but on the other, US trainers are... providing direct assistance?

But why? Well, take a quick look at the map of French "military assets" in Mali.

What does this map show?


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.

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chump666's picture

"a botched hostage rescue attempt by French commandos while leaving behind one of their team"


toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

Another modern military getting spanked by "insurgents" with second rate surplus hardware. Some chicken littles who daydream about violent gun confiscation scenarios still think the U.S. government would stand a chance against millions of heavily armed Americas.


Newsflash... Obama punted to Congress on the ban and it's no going to happen.

otto skorzeny's picture

" a rifle behind every blade of grass"-Admiral Yamamato

Clashfan's picture

Hey whatever happened to those "mass arrests" you kept yapping about. Uh-huh. Whatever. That's what happened.

cranky-old-geezer's picture



Some chicken littles who daydream about violent gun confiscation scenarios still think the U.S. government would stand a chance against millions of heavily armed Americas.

There won't be "millions of heavily armed Americans" to go up against, there won't any armed confrontations, they're not stupid.  Just piecemeal one-by-one confiscation (and prison).

Not one of O's 23 EOs says anything about confiscation.  It's all about outlawing ownership, using the medical profession to diagnose everybody with some sort of "mental disorder".

Once you're diagnosed with some "mental disorder", and it's in a national medical database, and you legally can't own guns anymore, they'll just wait till you're caught with one, there goes your guns and there you go off to prison.

You idiot GOs are waiting for some sort of massive confiscation, at which time you'll launch your so-called "revolt".  

Bullshit and bullshit.  There won't be any massive confiscation, and there won't be any so-called "revolt".

We're getting pretty tired of "oh yea, you just wait, we're gonna do it someday".

Bullshit.  You'll never do it.

A. Magnus's picture

First, we bail out the Frogs in IndoChina, then they empty Fort Knox to foot the bill. Who wants to bet the Frogs (French to you non-New Yorkers) end up sticking a fork in the dollar by the time this little 'adventure' is over?

falak pema's picture

its not about frogs its about the dogs of war defending the Oligarchy Gods of oil and uranium.

Go learn your Mowgli book of the Jungle. 

Also keep in mind its part of the Oligarchy plan to suck in Algeria into the "Maghreb conundrum". Egypt...Libya...Tunisia...Algeria...Mali...NIger...Nigeria... you get the picture (like in Syria).

The whole of Sahel from Somalia to Mauritania will be land of opportunity, once the incumbent regimes of local countries take on the Islamist backlash, as a foot in the door strategy of global Oligarchy to control cowered regimes, caught between the anvil of Islamism and the hammer of first world (US oligarchy military) power. 

Preempting that backlash is a good strategy to hasten the rush to RM assets before Chindia gets there. The fight between first world and Chindia is on for Africa's resources. 

As they say, use the "mad men" false flag  to destabilise the local regimes whose wealth you want; aka the al Qaeda nebulous vis à vis oil rich Libya/Algeria/Niger etc. is a good stalking horse to destabilise the incumbent regimes. 

Al Qaeda is useful in Libya, Syria now Mali/algeria. 

During the French-Habsburg stand off in 1520-1559 in Italy, France's greatest ally in Mediterranean was Barberousse, the Corsair. Ottoman admiral, he raided the Italian coast at François I's request to destabilise the Imperial spanish hold during the wars of Italy. In fact Ottoman Navy (as Ottoman army at Vienna)  and French were allied against the Habsburgs.

Today in many ways the First world and Al Qaeda are allied to help the oil come back under first world control. History repeats.

Its been the age of Machiavelli ever since. Read my lips.... is the give away line. Never believe what I say but what I do! 

Saudi is the biggest ally of USA....that is the most important fact of the oil patch. And they are...Wahab's sons at the top of the pyramid. Food for thought. 

How can Islam in Africa/MAghreb go against those who control Mecca?

Aint that a question worth pondering?



magpie's picture

"How can Islam in Africa/MAghreb go against those who control Mecca?"

Weeeell, we better ask the descendants of the Turkish sultan

falak pema's picture

You forget one thing : Selim I, father of Soleiman the MAgnificent, took Cairo by defeating the Mamelucks  in 1517, obliged the incumbent figurehead, Abbasid Caliph, to hand over the sacred insigna of the Prophet (standard and Prophet's teeth) and brought them back to Stamboul.

From that day onwards, the Caliph of ISlam WAS the great Turc. Nobody in Sunni Islam could contest that. Mecca was now part of his empire. Only the Safavid Shiites of Iran contested Soleiman's supremacy and he fought many wars against them taking Bagdad but could not hold on to it. The Persians won that war later on.

When the Ottomans collapsed the Pax Britannica leaders of 1917 (LLyod George/Churchill) resuscitated the Hashemite power over Mecca. And that led to the Sauds...when Pax Britannica's regional (now oil) legacy morphed into Pax Americana under FDR/WW2. 

There...500 years of history, how we now have the most rabid elements of Islam back in charge of Mecca; something that the Renaissance/ Enlightenment  were supposed to attenuate, via the Turkish/French alliance that subsequently made Turkey, (lead player),  more tolerant and west compatible, but something that good ole GWB and "clash of civilizations" have resuscitated in the Machiavellian aftermath of AMerica's use of Talibanism to fight Soviet presence in Afghan/Pak; as in IRak, in the wake of Oil patch hegemonial diplomacy; vital thread to west's way of living. 

Our way of life needs Arab oil, now vital to Chindia/JApan. 


Fíréan's picture

Here's a more complete interactive map of Africa with comparative sizes of African countries to USA states.

runforthehills's picture

this region isn't quite so devoid of natural resources : Niger, on the other side the border, has 8% of the world's uranium

think that might get the nuclear French interested

AgAu_man's picture

Good observation!  If you know or can, it'd be interesting to see a list of U235 ore by concentration/ton by country.  It's not just size of reserves, but Size x Concentration for Total Mineable U235.

I recall seeing something in Chris Martensen's Crash Course, that showed Canada as having the highest concentrations. 

Ireland's U2 can put on a light show, but not like that U235 band.  ;)

enloe creek's picture

Nigeria?  nucking futs to attempt anything there. that place is hell 

Xibalba's picture



6And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.


      7The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. 8They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. 9They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. 10They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. 11They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.

      12The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.


Looks like this:


Everybodys All American's picture

The president's foreign policy is in a shambles and now it takes Algerian military to rescue Americans held hostage by Islamic militants we likely trained. No one is willing to report that the Libyan failures and training of those militants are directly tied to the president's foreign policy of leading from behind which has led to this outcome in Mali.


AgAu_man's picture

Imagine if you appointed yourself as The Neighborhood Cop, and had the biggest G+A collection to back you up. Also imagine that every time one of the neighbors (you didn't like or whose stuff you coveted) had his kids scrapping.  Why, you'd have no choice but to spy on them with your Day/Night sights and then barge in, guns blazing.  You 'keep the peace' because you have your 'peacekeeper'.  ;-)

Of course, if your 'professional' neighbors (Bankers, Doctors or Lawyers) had rowdy neighbors who cause them trouble and break-ins, why, you'd have to sort out the rowdy bunch also on their behalf. After all, they are the 150 lb 'weaklings' and you are the (useful) 900 lb gorilla/guerilla.  ;-)

Yeah, that's what the US 'Foreign' Policy seems like.  Very 'foreign' to the average American.

Yen Cross's picture

 Some very astute poster mentioned adjacent ( resources are in jeopardy)... He/She in fact, was/is correct.

   CIA - The World Factbook  Mali     Another off the books CIA quagmire. No mention of natural resources as primary exports.

 Goat herding and Cow milking, are the GDP of Mali< caugh_ caugh> ...

lakecity55's picture

French: Ze Germans want back ze gold we have.

Americans: Yeah. We're in a jam.

French: There is a lot of gold in Mali!

Americans: OK, we'll get some AQ in there. Then you attack. We'll get the gold. We just have to stall the Krauts.

AgAu_man's picture

All Magician's Trick:  Distraction & Action.  Mali is the 3rd largest AU producer, next to South Africa.

Q = Where is MFG (Mali's Frikkin Gold)?  The Dutch and German Central Banks are asking the same thing: 
Where My F'n Gold!?"

The American and the French need to get the gold, to pay the Dutch and Germans, who want their gold that neither French nor Fed has in their vaults.

Suspect that the US and French AU is gone.. into 'private' hands:  Needed for the Golden Temple and the Golden Bull.  Grand opening when there is "One Coin To Rule Them All".  Just kidding.  I think.

nathan1234's picture

It's time Obama put his boots on and went in himself.

Man has no balls- Only drones.

bugs_'s picture

lots of raybans been in Mali for years.  very curious that AQ decided to play mole to our whack-a-mole in Mali.  Only thing I can think of is some Libyan stuff had to be moved and they just can't keep the saturday night fighters chilled.

Everybodys All American's picture

Look at the border problems between Israel and Egypt as the next big flash point on Obamas foreign policy. That big black swan is getting ready and it's just a matter of time.

dondonsurvelo's picture

If the US has drones over Mali then we indeed have boots on the ground in Mali.  In order for the drones to accurately hit targets, especially trucks with rebel leaders, lasers need to tag these targets.  This tagging of targets is done by boots on the ground special ops teams.  Where there are drones there are boots on the ground, period.

ebworthen's picture

What would "Wall Street is Great!" or "Bankers are Great!" be in Arabic?

Maybe the DOD should just paint "Dollar Akbar!" on the drones?

Notarocketscientist's picture

If the US and other western nations would allow Nigeria to control its oil and use the proceeds from fairly traded oil to help their people - instead of installing thug puppet scum as leaders who allow western oil countries to pillage resources and pollute to high hell - then perhaps they would not have a massive uprising on their hands (that just happens to be lead by Islamists)


Diamond Jim's picture

irrelevant from a resource stand point ??? Well I get some really nice grossular garnets from there. Guess I'll just have to  raise the price on the ones I have and not cut anymore rough........

This all sounds like Vietnam...french screw things up, US sends in "military advisors", things go badly for the puppet gov't, US sends in foot soldiers, lots of kids die for ???

I guess Prez Owe pulls us out of Afghani too early, just in time to keep his election promise, but now sends them off to Mali. And I thought he was cutting Defense.........

Dr. Sandi's picture

Boots on the ground

Drones in the air

If it's a big botch

The Yankees are there

rguptatx's picture

AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZIng that US Intel has already announced that this attack was planned LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG before the Mali action by France. We are still waiting for any light to shine on Benghazi!

nathan1234's picture


So long as you have a fiat currency called the US Dollar, you will have war.

Just print it up , get the troops and drones ready and Away we go.

Oh what fun ( besides the moolah we make )!

disabledvet's picture

First off hat's off to Zerohedge as the only news outlet that actually knew of the slaughter of Western hostages by the Algerian Government. I mean "already the lies and obfuscation are flying"? These clowns in the media are even more insane with their stories of "neo-colonial imperialist French getting slaughtered as they should" mularkey (as said on National Public Radio today.) for a site devoted to gold I'm surprised by the "insane asylum relook" here. Mali is to Goldcorp what Ray Lewis is to the Baltimore Ravens. Anywho "I'm sure this war will be like all the others" USA. "Four years, lots of complexit" let alone...ahem..."moral ambiguity." I must say I do find it interesting that the slaughter of these hostages caused oil and it would seem all North American markets to surge as they did. Hmmmmm. I wonder why that is....

No Euros please we&#039;re British's picture

Hey I just had to comment when I saw that. I read about the Algerian "massacre" at around 08:30am UK time on ZH. 14 hours later the BBC where claiming no one knew what was happening but maybe 1 or 2 of the hostages were dead but expect more bad news to follow. Go figure.

q99x2's picture

There go the neighborhood.

Al-Qaeda scores again.

Hope they keep them over there working for them and not bring them to the US. I think they already brought them here once.

nathan1234's picture

The US is in bed with Al-Qaeda in Syria

Al- Qaeda is known to be a CIA operation

How else do you think the US can go where it wants using it as an excuse!


Paracelsus's picture


They do sweet fuckall and get our guys and diplomats shot to bits in benghazi,right?

Now,something starts brewing in Mali and they are all in with the snake eaters and drones?

There is a smelly turd here somewhere.....

And,why don't the locals love their Gubbmint enough to fight for them?  Bunch of Crooks?

budda's picture

Drones are pay-back for suicide bombers plain and simple.

strayaway's picture

The Indepenent article brings up what the media have not acknowledged. When President Obama helped overthrow the goverenment of LIbya without the consent of Congress, he contibuted toward the destabilization of the area. Displaced Tuaregs and other African mercinaries working for Khaddafi left with his weapons which were used against Mali. This mess in Mali is a direct result of Obama and France overthrowing Khaddafi as was Benghazi. The press has almost totally absolved President Obama of the problems his misplaced Liban policies caused.

mogul rider's picture

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.




No actually that is not true. Mali has some of the very large gold deposits in Africa owned by the likes of Endeavor, Anglo, BHP and others who are rampng up production.


It's about blood bullion - nothing more

andyupnorth's picture

This is a stupid article.  The following ZeroHedger is right on:


Germany wants their gold holdings repatriated to home soil. They have asked the French to return all of their gold, at a rate of 50 tonnes per year until all 374 metric tonnes are received.

The French have just commenced military operations in Mali. Mali is Africa's third largest gold producer. Mali, this past year, increased its gold production by just over 50 metric tonnes.

Is anyone else seeing the connection here?

I'm willing to bet that France does not have Germany's gold and the Bundesbank has given them a few years to mine it from Mali. Yet the Mali source must be secure, hence the military must make sure the gold flows.

alentia's picture

While China is buying Africa with US$. US is recapturing Africa with brute force. When you are late, stupid and have no money, gotta use force.

Africa is last standing continent to be developed!

Well, that discounting pinguin country. Are they going to blame pinguins for terrorists acts in 2035 to invade their country?

slackrabbit's picture

Bang on.

Having worked in Angola etc, the chinese are using soft power.

When I heard from expats (trust me they always hear and see the stuff first hand) that the US were thinking about 'protecting african resources' we immediately knew direct action would be immient because like you say the west has no money.

Frankly I feel sorry for the poor citizens being stuck in the middle of this new cold war between China & Russia on one side and the west on the other.  

I just hope sanity will prevail, but currently it appears out to lunch.


And yes Antartica will be next, much to the annoyance of New Zealand, Austrailia and Chille

omufrench's picture

A Bungled French Policy..!! American "Advisers"... !! Where have I heard that before ??? 

Duh... Vietnam..!! 

Volaille de Bresse's picture

"Another war we're gonna lose...

Oh Ma I got the GI Blues!"

2013 US Army Corp song...

No Euros please we&#039;re British's picture

"Mali is one of the most irrelevant countries in West Africa from a resource standpoint"

Good job Randgold Resources don't know this.

slackrabbit's picture

I have to love the 'US Military Trainers' (mercs).

Like these guys need most soldiers in Africa, they have been fighting for years.

Death is a pretty good teacher of combat tactics, as is the availability of military books on the internet.

Given the 'success' of the wars in the middle east I'd rather avoid the wests 'advice'; especially when we can't even manage our own finances, let alone get our own houses in order.

Like all dying empires, the arrogance is breath taking.... 

etresoi's picture

"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."

Exactly the facts  I posted a comment on ZH saying the same thing a few days and got only down votes.

I am in daily  conversation with upper echalons of the Nigerian government and they  have been worried about US Africom finding a foothold in Africa for more than six months that I know of. No African government wants Africom, which is why  it had to be based in Germany .

Ghordius's picture

etresoi, never, ever bother about those arrows. up or down, this blog has a lot of users - and many of them aren't interested in anything original

etresoi's picture

I always wonder what the sophomoric frat boys have been using.