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France: 'Our goal is the total reconquest of Mali'

Published: January 21, 2013
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Source: Common Dreams

Cite terrorism, bomb, fuel terrorism, repeat.

A Malian refugee, who had fled violence, at the Mentao camp in Burkina Faso. (Photo: Oxfam International)

While blowback from Libya is felt in Mali, and from Mali in Algeria, recent comments from British and French leaders lay bare western powers' perception of conflict in Islamic lands through the lense of the war on terror that sees "terrorists" that must be stopped through military force with little thought given to the price that will be paid for the involvement.

As France continues to drop bombs on its former colony of Mali, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian left no doubt of his country's goal there.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian: "The goal is the total reconquest of Mali.""The goal is the total reconquest of Mali. We will not leave any pockets" of resistance, Le Drian said Sunday on France 5 television.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the hostage situation at the BP gas plant in Algeria was a "stark reminder," saying events there are part of "a global threat" and "require a global response."

And, being part of the war on terror, Cameron explains, it has no end point, as he hints as all-out force to be used:

It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months. [...]

What we face is an extremist, Islamist, al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group. Just as we had to deal with that in Pakistan and in Afghanistan so the world needs to come together to deal with this threat in north Africa.

It is linked to al-Qaeda, it wants to destroy our way of life, it believes in killing as many people as it can. We need to work with others to defeat the terrorists and to close down the ungoverned spaces where they thrive with all the means that we have. [emphasis mine]

British Prime Minister David Cameron: "It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months."But looking at how 'we dealt with that' in Afghanistan would be wise, The Independent's Owen Jones writes:

It is conceivable that this intervention could – for a time – achieve its goals of pushing back the Islamist militias, and shore up Mali’s government. But the Libyan war was seen as a success, too; and here we are now engaging with its catastrophic blowback. In Afghanistan, Western forces remain engaged in a never-ending war which has already helped destabilised Pakistan, leading to drone attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians and unleashed further chaos. The price of Western interventions may often be ignored by our media, but it is still paid nonetheless.

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