Determined to win and win in a short time, French fighter planes began lightning strikes on Islamist strongholds in northern Mali Friday. Since then, the strikes have intensified, as have the amount of ground troops – now at 550 – that France has brought in for support.The French specifically stepped in as radical Islamists, who had taken over northern Mali last April, began a successful expansion campaign into the central region of the country, threatening to reach Bamako, the capital.
Seven other countries have joined the effort, including the U.S., who is providing communications support, and Britain, who is sending aircrafts to help transport troops from neighboring countries.
Since taking over the northern part of the country (an area greater than the size of France), the Al Qaeda-linked groups have imposed the most extreme form of Sharia (Islamic) law on the territory, amputating arms for those accused of thievery, public whippings of women for wearing perfume or makeup, flogging men for smoking cigarettes, and stoning to death individuals accused of adultery. Alcohol, music and watching sports on television have also been forbidden. The Islamists began their campaign in the region by smashing historic tombs and shrines located in Timbuktu.
See RadicalIslam.org’s related report Mali Islamists Amputate Thief’s Hand. Threaten 60 More
Tens of thousands of Malians have fled the region, with those left behind having to deal with the horrors of everyday life under the Islamists.
“France’s goal is to lead a relentless struggle against terrorist groups,” the ministry said, “preventing any new offensive of these groups to the south of Mali,” said France’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The Islamists rapid expansion into central Mali prompted the French to take action to prevent Al Qaeda terrorists from establishing large terrorist bases from which to launch attacks in Europe and link to other Islamist groups in Somalia, Yemen and northern Africa.
France’s goal is also to provide support to Malian government forces, who are hoping to soon be joined by troops from other African nations to take back their country.
Read more a Radical Islam
- Mali Islamists threaten to retaliate ‘at the heart of France’ (csmonitor.com)
- Mali Islamists counter-attack, threaten France (news.yahoo.com)
- Shabaab releases photos of French commando captured in failed rescue mission (counterjihadreport.com)