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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
HT: The New York Times
With the French Air Force exhausting their capabilities, pounding the islamists into the ground and forcing them out of several key cities, French ground forces have formed an armored column and are approaching the disputed North along with weakened Malian forces to confront the islamists.
While the initial burst of air superiority halted the islamists advance into southern Mali and hit their forces hard in strongholds such as Douentza and Gao, overall the air assaults have just led to them hiding in the Saharan bush and blending in with civilians, which will make this ground campaign a tasking.
The French force, which numbers around a thousand right now, will be joined by another 1,500 comrades from bases in former African colonies, an estimated 3,000 soldiers from neighboring African nations and whatever remains of the Malian forces, which seem to be more interested in the defense of their capital Bamako at this point.
Contact between the two sides is expected to occur soon, if not already as some have reported, however, the French government has stated that they are in this fight for the long run to see the Malian people once again free and the islamist threat beat back and as of now - the usually anti-interventionist French public is behind the efforts.
The fight for Mali has only just begun...
What say you?