But, I thought Obama said al Qaeda was on the run?

**Posted by Phineas

In al Qaeda's crosshairs
In al Qaeda’s crosshairs

Apparently not so “on the run” that they couldn’t plan to turn Mali into another strategic base:

French forces also discovered “a small army of jihadists” from around the world in the isolated Ametetai valley, Reuters reported. Found with them were arms caches containing heavy weapons, material for improvised explosive devices, and suicide bomb belts. “The Islamist rebels, many of whom have flooded in from abroad, had been well armed and hoped to make the impoverished, arid nation a terrorist sanctuary,” [French General] Le Drian stated.

Al Qaeda planned to turn the region into a base for international terrorist operations, he concluded. “There was certainly the desire to make it a base for international actions.”

Bear in mind that the September 11th attacks were launched from another semi-forgotten backwater, Afghanistan. The last thing we need is for those refugees from a medieval lunatic asylum to find another sanctuary. Well done to the French for going after them, and “good hunting” to General Le Drian and his men.

Meanwhile, let us not forget that Mali’s torment is in large part a direct, if unintended, consequence of Obama’s “Smart Power” foreign policy and the fatuous “responsibility to protect” doctrine:

But the Libyan war’s worst impact may have occurred outside of Libya. The neighboring country of Mali, which also happens to support U.S. counter-terrorist efforts in western Africa, has been roiled by a new Tuareg insurgency fueled by the influx of men and weapons after Gadhafi’s defeat, providing the Tuareg rebels with much more sophisticated weaponry than they had before. This new upheaval benefits al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), and the Tuareg uprising threatens the territorial integrity of Mali. The rebellion has also displaced nearly 200,000 civilians in a region that is already at risk of famine, and refugees from Mali are beginning to strain local resources in Niger, where most of them have fled. “Success” in Libya is creating a political and humanitarian disaster in Mali and Niger. 

Maybe Obama should send one of his apologies to the peoples of Mali and Niger.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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