The war of words is already pretty intense:
Al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali threatened on Saturday to “open the doors of hell” for French citizens if France kept pushing for a war to retake the rebel-held north.
The renewed threats against French hostages and expatriates came ahead of a summit of French-speaking nations in Congo, where President Francois Hollande was expected to urge the rapid deployment of an African-led force to rout the Islamists.
…”If he continues to throw oil on the fire, we will send him the pictures of dead French hostages in the coming days,” said Oumar Ould Hamaha, a spokesman for Islamist group MUJWA, in an apparent reference to four French nationals seized in neighboring northern Niger in 2010.
“He will not be able to count the bodies of French expatriates across West Africa and elsewhere,” Hamaha said by telephone.
Allowing these groups to hold territory and consolidate power is intolerable so intervention is inevitable. Only the timing and scope are in question. The stakes are no doubt high for expats in West Africa but this conflict could reach back to France in the form of terrorism as well. How big is the threat on the European continent? I don’t know but it will be interesting to watch this unfold.
Covert Contact has been monitoring Mali for several months and today I rolled out a seven column widescreen live social media monitor there for this conflict. Additional monitors will probably be added as this escalates.
Maps courtesy of the CIA World Factbook