The French should be cautious in Mali
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France’s mission in Mali “has been completed”. Or so has been announced by the French Defence Secretary Jean-Yves Le Drian. This statement came after a number of key cities, among them Timbuktu, were liberated by French forces as of Tuesday. The French administration however would be advised not to make such suggestive statements of only semantic truth, when the situation in Mali bears so little semblance to political or military stability. They should also be cautious to avoid many of the mistakes made in another of its ex-colonies, Indochina, some of which it has already begun to pay the price for. The first of these is the inadvertent arming of the opposition. When the United States began its combat role in the beleaguered Vietnam conflict of the early 1960s, they found themselves engaged with an enemy extensively armed with remnant French weaponry—long after the French had departed. This same dilemma is emerging now in Mali, only on a far more disastrous scale.
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