Wednesday, 30 January 2013

What A Difference Two Days Make

French troops boarding transport to Mali

On Saturday it was reported that David Cameron had offered to send aircraft to Mali to assist the French fight against the rebels. His offer involved the transportation of foreign troops and equipment, but Downing Street said British troops would not join the French military mission to help recapture the north of Mali from al-Qaida linked rebels acting against the country's government.

Yesterday David Cameron ordered 330 troops to the troubled West African state on the pretext 'training purposes' and the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed there was 'no intention' of UK units being involved in combat.

From 2 aircraft to 2 aircraft and 300 soldiers shows the difference two days make in politics.

Some military and other commentators suspect that UK forces could be sucked deeper into another open-ended conflict in a Muslim country. I suspect that too.

The latest deployment comes as Westminster continues withdrawing troops from Afghanistan - a war which has left 440 British servicemen and women dead and thousands more wounded in 12 years of fighting.  Although the MoD insist they are reducing the number of troops, they continue to send troops to Afghanistan.

Mr Hammond told the Commons: 'We are very clear about the risks of mission creep and we have defined very carefully the support that we are willing to provide to the French and Mailian authorities.'  Perhaps he's unaware that the American catastrophe in Vietnam started off with a deployment of troops in a training capacity.

Why is Britain always the first to offer our troops to help others? Mali's neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger have offered 500 troops each and Senegal and Nigeria have also agreed to send soldiers but no numbers have been announced.

Mali is unfortunate insofar as it has no clear leader at the head of the country and its military simply gave up when the rebels arrived. Who are our troops going to train if all the troops are in retreat hundreds of miles to the south?

The rebels hace occupied Mali's northern half, an area larger than Afghanistan, amid the chaos after a coup in Mali's capital last March. They have used their nine-month siege of the north to dig in, create elaborate defences, including tunnels and ramparts using construction equipment abandoned by felling construction crews.

I foresee Mali as another Afghanistan, do you?


Joe Public said...

Will some squaddies be given compulsory redundancy direct from the battlefield?

JRB said...

I despair

Once again our belligerent politicians are blindly and thoughtlessly taking us into what will become another extended and endless conflict.

Do we never learn?

And when the first ‘repatriation flight’ lands at Brize Norton it will be too late for us all to say – “We told you so”.

subrosa said...

Quite possibly Joe. I've heard some of those being sent to Afghanistan will be only a few weeks or months from retirement upon their return.

subrosa said...

I despair too JRB. Why is it we have politicians who are so desperate to involve us in other's wars?

dognamedblue said...

guarantee they won't be sending their own kids to be maimed & murdered
but then you don't need me to tell you why things like this happen ;)

here's what Belgian MP LAURENT LOUIS thinks about it all:

Lord Monty said...

There's also the sentinel spy plane and the ro ro ferry ( we scrapped 2 of these last year.)
Someone on another blog said the UK troops were being sent to help prevent the French surrendering too early but that sounds far fetched.
At least it will help to keep the lights on as we switch to windmills for our power. The French get 70% of their uranium from neighbouring Niger and it's been a bit dodgy there for a while. We get a top up from the French interconnector when it's not windy or too windy and this is nuclear power.
So it's a good move for us.
Plus it will help to keep an eye on the Chinese who seem to be busy in Africa.

Dr Evil said...

If they are well dug in, then a few fuel-air bombs will take care of them.

Elby the Beserk said...

"I foresee Mali as another Afghanistan, do you?"

No. Why?

1. The insurgents are exactly that; not Malians, they have come in from the Maghreb's confusion,. bearing arms from the Maghreb.

2. The West African Muslim is a very different being from your Al Qaeda crazy. Contrast Ali Farka Toure with the one-eyed bastard who organised the Algerian gas depot hostage taking. Crazies of that type are not welcome in West Africa, but the people themselves do not have the means to resist crazies.

It's not in our interests to prolong our stay in Afghanistan; it was always doomed - the country, as is Pakistan, is a failed state. Rather fence them off and leave them to kill each other do. It's what crazy Muslims do, and they revel in it.

It IS in our interest to blat any crazies closer to home. Me? I'd give us much to the French in the way of armaments that they need, and go wipe these bastards out. Show them we mean business, as the Algerians did so very clearly.

Elby the Beserk said...

As I was saying...

English Pensioner said...

There is a far better case for us being in North/West Africa than there is for being in Afghanistan. It seems that some of the training will be of Nigerian soldiers and insofar as Nigeria was once a British colony, perhaps we have some moral responsibility there. Certainly Nigeria has the same problem as Mali with Islamic terrorists in the more distant parts, so how much assistance they will be able to give in Mali is questionable.
Of course, one question we should ask the French is about the nature of support that they would be prepared to give the UK if push becomes shove in the Falklands.

subrosa said...

I recall the scrapping last year Monty but haven't heard the rumour about the French.

subrosa said...

I'm not so sure Dr Evil. Think they may have equipment which can counter such attacks.

subrosa said...

Elby, I heard the 'terrorists' were a mix from Afghanistan, Pakistan and other African countries.

Thanks for that link.

We're already doomed here really because we have allowed all and sundry into this country without any proper checks to see if they're going to benefit this country in any way.

Dramfineday said...

Yep Rosie, here we go again! More of our young for the war machine mincer.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Cameron got a call from Anglo/American.

subrosa said...

And to boost the egos of warmongering politicians Dram. PS Good to see you. :)

subrosa said...

No doubt Crinkly, no doubt at all.

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