Precisely a month ago, when we last looked at the ongoing French campaign in Mali, whose diplomatic justification before the people of the "democratic" world was the eradication of "insurgents", and various other "Al Qaeda rebels", we asked readers, rhetorically, to look at a map of Mali and tell us what they see.
"Nothing. 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."
It appears that Nigeria will be drawn into the fray far sooner than even we expected following today's news that Islamist militants from neighboring Nigeria abducted a French family of seven, including four children, in northern Cameroon on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said. Next up: Al Qaeda is mysteriously discovered to be aiding and abetting "evil" insurgent Malians out of Nigeria, and the French campaign, with the generous and stealthy support of the US, shifts slowly but surely southward to its ultimate destination: liberating all that Nigerian light sweet oil.
The risk of attacks on French nationals and interests in Africa has risen since France sent forces into Mali last month to help oust Islamist rebels occupying the country's north.
"They (French family) have been taken by a terrorist group that we know and that is in Nigeria," Hollande told reporters during a visit to Greece.
The seven French nationals were abducted in Dabanga about 10 km (six miles) from the Nigerian border near the Waza national park, where they had spent the night in the extreme north of Cameroon, an area where Westerners often go for holidays.
Armed men on motorcycles intercepted the family in their car at 0700 GMT and forced them to drive to the nearby Nigerian border, an aide to the governor of the province told Reuters, and the four-wheel drive vehicle was later found abandoned.
Islamist radicals in northern Nigeria now pose the biggest threat to stability in Africa's top oil-producing state.
Logic therefore dictates that the developed world should promptly intervene and protect Nigeria from Islamist radicals. Because we have never seen this movie play out before.
Western governments are concerned that Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists may link up with groups elsewhere in a region with poorly secured borders, especially al Qaeda's North African wing AQIM given the conflict in nearby Mali.
"I see the hand of Boko Haram in that part of Cameroon. France is in Mali, and it will continue until its mission is completed," Hollande said.
"It shows that the fight against terrorist groups is a necessity as they threaten all of Africa," French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told reporters.
Cameroon Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said he could not confirm the kidnapping report for now.
Charles Gurdon, managing director of Menas Associates, a London-based risk analysis consultancy, said there had been growing concerns over a possible spillover from Nigeria into the north of Cameroon.
"Traces of ... Boko Haram had been discovered (in Cameroon), but the Cameroon government has been covertly trying to undermine the threat," he said.
On Sunday, seven foreigners were snatched from the compound of Lebanese construction company Setraco in northern Nigeria's Bauchi state, and al Qaeda-linked Ansaru took responsibility.
Northern Nigeria is increasingly afflicted by attacks and kidnappings by Islamist militants. Ansaru, which rose to prominence only in recent months, has also claimed the abduction in December of a French national who is still missing.
And once the developed world liberates Nigeria of its Islamist, Al Qaeda-funded terrorist scourge with sheer brute, military force, it will be only logical that as payback it gets perpetual rights of crude extraction and operation in Africa's top oil-producing state.
You know: before ze Chinese get there. Because remember: while the developed world distracts everyone from its absolute insolvency and complete lack of money-good assets, the real goal of 2013 (and onward) is one: the last great resource play - Africa (as seen previously in ""Go South, Young Man": The Africa Scramble" and in "The Beijing Conference": See How China Quietly Took Over Africa).