Frankrikes engasjement i Mali kan få større konsekvenser: en fransk pilot er drept og Al Qaida i Maghreb kunngjør at de anser innblandingen for et korstog som vil utløse angrep i Frankrike. Francois Hollande har allerede skjerpet sikkerheten.

At a press conference, President Hollande said: “The fight against terrorism also means we have to take all precautionary measures neccesary here in France. I have asked the Prime Minister to reinforce France’s national security alert system, and to establish surveillance of public buildings and transport infrastructure.”

His comments came after a spokesman for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said he considered French action in Mali as “crusader intervention”, and warned that if France continued it would be “digging the tombs of [its] sons”.

Sikkerhetsrådet har gitt ECWAS mandat til å intervenere på myndighetenes side i Mali. Rådet har åpnet for en styrke på 3.300 mann, men så langt har bare Niger, Senegal og Burkinao Faso lovet 500 hver, ikke akkurat noen sterke miilitære nasjoner.

Det var opprørerne i nord som utløste den franske intervensjonen da de angrep regjeringskontrollert område denne uken. Den maliske hæren smeltet bort og bød ikke på noen motstand.

Mali’s army melted away when the Islamists launched their new advance this week — and this worries many countries.

US UN Ambassador Susan Rice raised concerns about Mali’s army at an emergency Security Council meeting on Thursday.

«One of the things we discussed is the extent to which the Malians are ready and willing to defend their own country,» Rice said afterwards.

Så hvem skal Frankrike støtte seg på? De står i samme situasjon som USA i Afghanistan: man vinner militært, men kan ikke overta ansvar for hele samfunnet. Frankrike risikerer å havne i et langvarig engasjement det kan bli vanskelig å komme ut av.

«It is getting nasty and there will be a chaotic few weeks ahead,» said a senior UN Security Council envoy after Paris officially informed the 15-member body of its decision to act in the African nation.

Al-Qaeda linked Islamist groups forced France into the conflict on Thursday by moving out of their bastion in northern Mali into government-held areas.

Frankrike hadde håpet på ECOWAS og at de skulle få tid til å styrke den maliske hæren. Opprørerne har forrykket tidsskjemaet.

Hollande sier overraskende nok at dette er en krig mot terror og at Frankrike kommer ikke til å kapitulere.

But political turmoil in government-controlled areas, doubts about the capability of Mali’s army and the African force, as well as disputes over international funding for the operation, have all cast a shadow over the efforts.

French President Francois Hollande said his country will take on the Islamists «as long as necessary.» He has portrayed the conflict as a showdown with terrorism.

«France may now need to take an even stronger hand in the effort against the Islamists and press the rest of Europe and the United States to get more involved,» said the western envoy. Britain has already announced that it will help transport foreign troops to Mali. The United States, meanwhile, provides military training to the country.

«It may only be a limited intervention now, but there is a high chance that France will have to increase its presence further, especially if it is not possible to get a serious regional stabilization in place much faster than was planned,» said Richard Gowan of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation.

«It’s likely that France and possibly the United States will escalate special forces raids and drone strikes in the north to weaken the Islamists while some sort of long-term intervention force gets together,» Gowan added.

The Islamists and allied Tuareg separatist rebels took advantage of a coup in Mali to seize the huge chunk of territory. The coup leaders continual dabbling in politics has hindered international efforts to bolster the campaign against the Islamists, diplomats said.

Dronekrigen gjør trolig sin entre også her, og blir en erstatning for en politisk og militær styrke.