Franske soldater på flyplassen i Bamako, Mali. Det er tolv år siden USA gikk inn i Afghanistan og innledet krigen mot terror. Nå er det Frankrikes tur, og det synes som om det ikke er noen fremgang. Hva gjør det med psyken og kampmoralen? Har Frankrike stamina til å stå alene? Foreløpig virker ikke andre NATO-land ivrige etter å ha ha boots on the ground.
Con Coughlin i Telegraph reflekterer over den nye krigen som er ledd i krigen som ikke ser ut til å ta slutt.

It is now more than a decade since the UN Security Council unanimously approved the American-led campaign to destroy the terrorist infrastructure al-Qaeda had assembled in southern Afghanistan. There is nothing the world’s most notorious terrorist organisation likes more than to move into the ungoverned space of failed Islamic states, and southern Afghanistan proved the perfect hide-out from which Osama bin Laden and his cohorts could plot their diabolical attacks against the West.

Thanks to the success of Nato’s military intervention in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and its allies no longer enjoy that freedom: its terrorist infrastructure has been destroyed and the few survivors of bin Laden’s original organisation have sought refuge in mountain retreats.

But arguably the most depressing aspect of what used to be known as the war on terror is that no sooner has one group of Islamist terrorists been dealt with than another pops up. Since the elimination of al-Qaeda from southern Afghanistan in late 2001 we have seen variations of the movement take root in failing Islamic states such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and large tracts of North Africa.
Hollande var den presidenten man minst ventet skulle gå til intervensjon. Det første han gjorde da han tiltrådte var å trekke ut de 2000 franske soldatene i Afghanistan. Hva fikk ham til å skifte mening?

But Mr Hollande’s determination to steer clear of foreign military entanglements became unsustainable once the extremists launched an offensive aimed at securing still more territory. When AQIM’s gunmen captured the outpost of Konna, they were less than 40 miles from Mopti, the last garrison town standing between them and the capital, Bamako. For a moment, it seemed as if the remaining one third of Mali notionally in the hands of the shambolic central government might also fall under their sway. Hence President Hollande had no realistic option but to act. If not, one of Africa’s biggest countries risked becoming a terrorist state.

According to Richard Fenning, the head of Control Risks, which specialises in global security assessments and has closely monitored the situation in Mali, al-Qaeda’s takeover is a classic example of the group’s strategy of exploiting ungoverned space in Islamic countries. “They have taken over a very large area which is hard to monitor,” he says.
Frankrike har mange opsjoner og ingen er spesielt forlokkende. Frankrike blir nødt for å go it alone.