Military of Chad in Clashes with Islamists in Mali: France, Mali, Syria and the role of Qatar

Military of Chad in Clashes with Islamists in Mali: France, Mali, Syria and the  role of Qatar

Pierre Leblanc and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The armed forces of Chad lost 13 soldiers while fighting Islamist militants in northern Mali. It is known that 65 Islamists were killed in the intense fighting and this once more underlies the importance of African nations in their fight to quell the chaos in Mali. France immediately was the engine which led the military offensive against Islamists in Mali but the influence of various African nations is a growing factor on the ground.

From the outset the French-led military attack made rapid gains because the vast majority of Islamists just fled in the full knowledge that open-warfare wasn’t in their interest. Yet, like suspected, a gradual campaign based on guerilla tactics is happening in parts of Mali. This reality means that France should think heavily before pulling out its military forces.

The destabilization of Libya by America, France, many Gulf nations, and the United Kingdom; meant that a mixture of Islamist forces, regional militias, and mercenaries, all had a vested interest in destroying the power of Gaddafi. However, by destroying a functioning state despite all the shortcomings in Libya under Gaddafi, this reality led to many internal convulsions within Libya. This in turn spread to other regional nations because many forces entered the vacuum which was created. Now a vast area is awash with military arms, an array of Islamist factions, weak central forces, powerful regional dynamics, and on top of this you have genuine ethnic issues alongside outside meddling which is based on ill intentions.

It would be a calamity if France pulled it troops out of Mali too quickly because this nation alongside other powerful players in America, the United Kingdom and several nations in the Gulf are to blame for the severity of the crisis in Mali. This applies to powerful forces unleashed in Libya after the overthrow of Gaddafi. Similarly, the recent hostage crisis in Algeria emanated from the Libyan angle. Mali itself also faced internal problems related to political, ethnic and cultural issues prior to the Islamist onslaught. However, regional events meant that Islamists filled the vacuum because of major regional instability, the easy access to military hardware and because of the alleged involvement of nations based in the Gulf region.

Indeed, France should also look deeply “in the mirror” because it is clear that Qatar and Turkey which are in the anti-Syrian alliance do not want anything to do with France in Mali. Rumors also abound about the underhanded and murky policies of Qatar with regards to Islamist factions and indoctrination in northern Mali. Therefore, the armed forces of Chad, France, Nigeria, Syria, and other nations, are all fighting against various different Islamist factions which seek to impose a brutal reign of terror based on Salafist militancy. This reality should make France turn away from its path against Syria because just like the latest brutal terrorist attack in Damascus, it is clear that Islamist terrorism and sectarian indoctrination is the enemy of the people of Mali and Syria respectively.

The armed forces of Chad deployed their troops totaling 1,800 soldiers in Kidal which is in northern Mali. Kidal was the last major stronghold to fall to the French led military offensive. Therefore, the armed forces of Chad are on the frontline in the “war against terrorism.” Also, the Ifoghas highlands which are located to the north of Kidal have become a place of retreat for many Islamists. Given this reality, it is clear that the armed forces of Chad will face many dangers because they need to flush out Islamist havens before they regroup and launch counter-attacks based on guerilla tactics.

It is short-sighted of France to start to withdraw its military forces because the Islamist insurgency isn’t crushed because of geographic factors and regional dynamics. Nobody for certain knows if the situation will be contained – or if Islamist forces will launch major fresh attacks. This uncertainty means that it is too soon for France to pull out because internal issues in Mali are complex even without the Islamist angle. Therefore, various African nations and France need to work closely together in order to restore order to northern Mali and in focusing on the internal political situation in this nation.

France 24 comments that “France sent in troops on January 11 to help the Malian army oust Islamist militants who last year captured the desert north of the country. Since then, thousands of soldiers from African countries have also deployed and France plans to start withdrawing its troops next month.”

“The French-led forces met little resistance during the initial offensive that drove the Islamists from the main northern centers of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.”

“Now however, they are facing a guerrilla campaign that includes sudden raids, suicide attacks and land mines.”

France should also focus on the role of Qatar within the murky dealings of this nation and likewise political elites in Paris should disengage with the many rat lines against secular Syria. After all, it is abundantly clear that various Islamist factions are growing in power because international jihadists from many nations keep on entering this nation. This is all being supported by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and alongside the terrorist rat lines you have enormous indoctrination going on. Also, just like in Mali, many Islamic charities are not what they appear because often they are “indoctrinating centers.” Similarly, many refugee camps housing Syrian nationals are also being manipulated by many dark forces in order to spread sectarianism and sedition against the government of Syria.

In another article by France 24 it was stated that “The first accusations of Qatari involvement with Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups came in a June 2012 article in respected French weekly the Canard Enchainé.”

“In a piece titled “Our friend Qatar is financing Mali’s Islamists,” the newspaper alleged that the oil-rich Gulf state was financing the separatists.”

“It quoted an unnamed source in French military intelligence saying: “The MNLA [secular Tuareg separatists], al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine and MUJAO [movement for unity and Jihad in West Africa] have all received cash from Doha.”

The article further states that “A month later Sadou Diallo, the mayor of the north Malian city of Gao [which had fallen to the Islamists] told RTL radio: “The French government knows perfectly well who is supporting these terrorists. Qatar, for example, continues to send so-called aid and food every day to the airports of Gao and Timbuktu.”

In Tunisia the secular leader Chokri Belaid was recently assassinated and clearly Islamists hope to change the dynamics of Tunisian society. Likewise, sectarian and Islamist forces in Syria desire to crush the rich mosaic of this nation. Therefore, it is high time for France to turn away from the feudal monarchies of the Gulf which are involved in sectarian and Islamist funding. After all, it is pointless for French soldiers to fight alongside various African nations in Mali if their own government is siding with Islamist forces in Syria – or supporting other forces which will weaken Syria and open up the way for Islamization based on sectarianism.

Similarly, now is not the time for France to disengage in Mali because the recent deaths of many soldiers from Chad highlights that the crisis is still in its infancy. This reality means that France must work together with all regional African nations which are supporting the people of Mali during this very difficult period. Likewise, France should turn away from undermining secular Syria because the region needs stability and for the mosaic of Syria to survive – just like the mosaic of Mali needs to survive the threat of Islamist militancy.

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