France would back an African military intervention in northern Mali, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday.
But even if he believed such an operation was inevitable — and desirable — it was not for France to take the lead, he added.
“It is not for France to take the military initiative in Mali,” he told journalists during a visit to Lorient in northwest France.
He said France “wants it to be the African forces, in particular those of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) and possibly the African Union, that take the initiative,” he said.
An African military intervention in northern Mali was “desirable and inevitable,” he added.
“France will support it and, I hope, the European Union also.”
At stake was political stability in the south of Mali which was not yet guaranteed, even if interim president Dioncounda Traore had returned to the country from Paris earlier this week, he added.
The situation in the north of the country was “very worrying”, said Le Drian.
He added that he would be discussing Mali with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Morenes later this month, taking time out from a holiday in Spain.
Terrorists freed two Spanish aid workers together with an Italian colleague in northern Mali last month: they had abducted them from a Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf in western Algeria last October.
Their captors, the previously unknown Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), says it is an offshoot of AQIM.
In a speech on July 14, Bastille Day in France, French President Francois Hollande also said that it was for Africans to decide when and how to intervene in northern Mali, though at the same time he promised unspecified support.
ECOWAS wants to send a 3,000-strong military force to Mali, but is waiting for United Nations approval and a formal request from Bamako.
On Wednesday, ECOWAS pledged support for Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore, after mediators extended a deadline for the country to form a unity government.
Diarra’s interim government was set up in April to take over from the junta which seized power on March 22.
The five-month-old conflict has forced 260,000 Malians to flee to neighbouring countries, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told reporters Friday after a visit to the region.
OMG NOOOOOO NOO
Didn’t I tell you?? Didn’t I??
This is ALWAYS how they start, ALWAYS!!
That is what all the talks about ‘Al Qaeda au Maghreb islamique’ were about! They have to get the sheepish western minds ready, just like they did with Libya because this independent country is threatening their reserves of Uranium in Niger and Oil in Algeria.
And no one cares obviously about African lives!! All that for western fuckers to enjoy cheap oil and atomic bombs.
The only source I’m seeing about the mosque is the guardian. I’m suspicious. However there are videos of the destruction of tombs.
I know that the MNLA had an alliance with some Islamist group but if they are indeed destroying mosquees, it actually proves that they may not be part of Al Qaeda like the western media has been claiming.
I don’t trust them, none of the things they have ever reported about Awazad adds up or makes sense :/
IMO they are just eyeing Niger for th eUranium and the South of Algeria and Lybia for the oil :/
I know that this map is tiny as hell but if you look at it, you can understand why westerners have all interest in claiming that the independentists in Awazad are terrorists
Those westerners think they are slick SMH!!
I’ve heard—but I’ll try to find where it was exactly and double-check my sources—the places being destroyed had icons of Muhammed up and that is why they were being targeted. As far as I know the MNLA’s alliance with the Islamist group was very tenuous, based basically on the need for numbers; the Islamists stayed in the cities while the MNLA were trying to secure Awazad’s borders…but that was a couple months ago. As you said it’s hard to find good information, or really even know what the good information is. Of course the two groups are totally different, I mean someone correct me if I’m wrong but Tuareg’s have never had a strong fundamentalist Islamic movement and are practically considered heretics by orthodox Muslims.
Absolutely right about the motives for discrediting them :/ Still trying to keep them under the thumb of debt til the land’s bled dry.
"Tuareg’s have never had a strong fundamentalist Islamic movement and are practically considered heretics by orthodox Muslims." EXACTELY!!!
This is what ALL the Amazighen I have talked to have told me!! Which is why those claims that the movement may be linked to Al Qaeda seem impossible to them!
BTW ‘Tuareg’ was a name given by colons, they never refer to themselves as such. Some of them told me that they would rather be referred to as Amazigh, how they call themselves.
But you may be right about this though “the places being destroyed had icons of Muhammad up and that is why they were being targeted." that would totally make sense.
Yet, I still have the unsettling feeling deep down that it has A LOT to do with the strategic geographic position of Awazad!
Ansar Dine destroying mausoleums in Timbuktu?
REUTERS - Armed fighters of Mail’s al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine Islamist group on Saturday destroyed mausoleums in the ancient trading city of Timbuktu, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, witnesses said.
The attack came just four days after UNESCO agreed to a request by the West African state to place Timbuktu on its list of heritage sites in danger following the seizure of its northern two-thirds in April by separatist and Islamist rebels.
“They have already completely destroyed the mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud (Ben Amar) and two others. They said they would continue all day and destroy all 16,” local Malian journalist Yeya Tandina said by telephone of the 16 most prized resting grounds of local saints in the town.
“They are armed and have surrounded the sites with pick-up trucks. The population is just looking on helplessly,” he said, adding that the Islamists were currently taking pick-axes to the mausoleum of Sidi El Mokhtar, another cherished local saint.
“It looks as if it is a direct reaction to the UNESCO decision,” Timbuktu deputy Sandy Haidara said by telephone, confirming the attacks.
Since government forces were routed in April, Ansar Dine and other Islamist groups with links to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have gained the upper hand over less well-armed Tuaregs whose goal is a secular, independent northern state.
Ansar Dine is pushing for strict sharia, Islamic law, across the whole of the country and deems un-Islamic the shrines of Timbuktu, an expression of the local Sufi brand of the religion.
This is why it was a crazy move from the start for some leaders of the MNLA to even suggest an alliance with these extremists.
Does it make sense when Islamists destroy Mosques?
I don’t even want to understand anymore.
No it doesn’t.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this. I don’t even know what to believe when it comes to Mali and Azawad any more.
We’re on the same page, I don’t know how these extremist groups work but I’m not sure if I buy the recent ‘they want to destroy MOSQUES!’ it seems incoherent and honestly, crazy. I’m suspicious of any reports by international medias when it comes to Azawad because they have an agenda. It seems bizarre to me that people who claim Islam will destroy Mosques, of all things.
We can’t talk about Awazad and forget how close it is to Niger which has one of the biggest reserves of Uranium in the world. Uranium is indispensable in making of nuclear weapons.
All the west is looking for now is any good reason to invade the Sahel like they did Middle East but for that, they must prepare the sheepish western populations glued in front of their TV.
I can’t trust western media anymore. They LIED so fucking much about what was going on in Libya, look at Libya today!! They were telling us that the whole country was against Gadaffi and they didn’t even reported when the UN erased a town populated by about 30,000 black Libyans out of the map!! They didn’t report about the atrocities those against the power were committing against black and indigenous Libyans!! Because of the oil in Libya. Now that Islamists are about to take control over there, their reports are not as positive as they used to be.
Fuck the western media and their lies!