Absolutely “nobody” could have possibly anticipated that the week old French incursion into Mali could already have such disastrous consequences: a botched hostage rescue attempt by French commandos while leaving behind one of their team, a downed pilot on the first day of the confrontation, revels that succeeded in capturing a strategic village and military post, and today, yet another hostage crisis in Algeria that has seen tens of hostages killed, potentially including Americans, following another botched rescue operation. Yet, in some ways, perhaps the stars have aligned just right for the US, which as Bloomberg reports, has wasted no time in sending not only drones in the air, but also boots on the ground.
- U.S. military trainers are expected to arrive in West Africa this weekend to train local military forces to fight Islamist insurgents including those now battling French and local government troops in Mali, State Dept. spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says in Washington.
- U.S. now providing intelligence, airlift to French troops fighting insurgents in Mali
- No U.S. troops to operate in Mali; U.S. barred from providing direct assistance to Mali military
So on one hand the US is barred from providing direct assistance, but on the other, US trainers are… providing direct assistance?
But why? Well, take a quick look at the map of French “military assets” in Mali.