The opening round of France’s offensive in Mali is proving to be more difficult than expected. The Islamists fighters always expected and counted on foreign intervention, and had used the time given to them to fortify and prepare for an extended campaign. There are signs already that the African country may be another Afghanistan.
The Islamists have proven to be better armed than expected leading to the loss of a French helicopter. Where did they get all that firepower?
Some of it came from Qatar, the sugar daddy of Al Qaeda whose news channel, Al Jazeera America will be coming into 40 million American homes thanks to Al Gore. But some of it came from France.
A French military spokesman, Colonel Thierry Burkhard, said it had provided “light arms such as assault rifles” for civilian communities to “protect themselves against Col Gaddafi”.
Le Figaro, the French newspaper which first reported the air drops, said the shipment included rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, along with Milan anti-tank missiles.
Le Figaro’s claim is probably closer to the truth, which means that it’s quite possible that a French helicopter was shot down with a French weapon.
This may be the shortest interval in history between arming a group and then being shot at by them.
The sheer level of French irresponsibility can be seen in the admission that France was basically dropping RPGs from the sky like some demented weapons parade.
“The U.N. request never actually took effect,” Colonel Burkhard said. “So we airdropped water, food and medical supplies” to Misurata and to the Nafusah Mountains south of Tripoli.
“During this operation, troops also airdropped arms and ammunition several times, including assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and launchers,” he said.
Food, water, RPGs, who can tell the difference?
The African Union Commission warned that dropping a lot of firepower out of a plane is a really bad idea.
African Union Commission chief Jean Ping says France’s decision to air-drop weapons to Libyan rebels is dangerous and puts the whole region at risk.
“The risk of civil war, risk of partition of the country, the risk of ‘Somalia-sation’ of the country, risk of having arms everywhere… with terrorism…. These risks will concern the neighbouring countries.”
And oddly enough, that’s exactly what happened. But at least France has gun control for its own people, even as it hands out assault rifles to terrorists.