The War on Terror Shifts to West Africa

Bradley Hart, Staff Writer

In Western Africa lays one of Africa’s most stable democracy, Mali, or it was at least thought so until the military overthrew the government last year for not providing enough support for them.  With no true government in place, Islamists and rebels in the northern part of the country were able to expand their reach even further.

Then several weeks ago the Islamic rebels launched an all-out attack southwards with the aim at taking the countries capital of Bamako.  Day after day the rebels pushed the poorly equipped Malian army back and back and more and more Islamic rebels joined in.  Some of these rebel groups are connected to the terrorist organization of Al- Qaeda.

This connection to Al- Qaeda drew the attention of western nations because it is believed that with the Islamic militants in control of more of the country, the nation could become a safe haven for terrorists to train and plot attacks.  Something needed to be done, but most western powers were afraid that getting involved Mali could lead to another bogged down war just like Afghanistan.

Finally France said enough was enough and decided to take the lead in combatting the rebels.  The French committed over two thousand troops to go into Mali and retake the country, protect the French citizens living there, and support the army.

The first of these French soldiers arrived in Mali around two weeks ago.  Since their arrival the rebels push south has been stopped and together the Malian and French forces are pushing northward retaking areas that were previously controlled by rebels.

Once France took the first step in the fight against the rebels other countries stepped up and helped out.  West African nations committed over two thousand more of their troops to help the Malian and French armies.  The United States then joined in, not by putting boots on the ground, but by sharing information, sending supplies, and airlifting in French soldiers to Mali.

Mali is just the newest battleground in the global fight against terrorist connected militants.