Last weekend we reported that two UK planes were going to be used to aid the French on a 'mission' to Mali. That mission was to push back Islamist rebels. Francois Hollande, of France, insisted that his country had been asked to enter Mali, by its leader. Help was needed to stop the rebels pushing on any further. Mali's military were reluctant to act without assistance.
Cameron maintained that there would be no 'UK' boots on the ground. It was going to be a quick and easy fight for the French. The UK was only going to offer a means to transport weapons and the like.
Sound familiar? Both World Wars were going to be short affairs. It was also reminiscent of when the Afghan leader, years ago, asked Russia to aid the country's efforts to rid Afghanistan of the Mujahideen. The West held its hands up as one and condemned Russia. After all America was training and arming the Mujahideen and had a vested interest in their rise to power. Some even belive that in his early days Bin Laden was funded by America.
These underhanded double dealings tend to have a way of biting back. The Mujahideen became the Taliban. Became the enemy of the West. Having unleashed a trained military band of rebels the West was now on the other side.
The situation in Mali has rapidly escalated. Deaths were reported on TEK early this week. They included civilians. French forces deployed heavy attacks but will now face the wrath of the rebels, if they do not succeed further.
An alleged revenge attack by a group of rebels in Algeria has spread the conflict. It is claimed to be part of reprisals against the French action in Mali. Sky News reports that, 'An Islamist militant group has claimed to have kidnapped up to 41 foreign nationals - including seven Americans and an Irishman in a dawn raid on the gas facility part-operated by BP, Algerian state oil company Sonatrach, and Norway's Statoil in Algeria.' The US and UK look set to become embroiled in a new conflict, as news of an attack on this BP oil plant has resulted in kidnaps.
A short time ago CNN reported on the 'pickle' the US is in right now. 'As Islamists in northern Mali threatened to "open the gates of hell," the United States is navigating one tricky quandary: how does it help in the battle against the militants without violating its own policy? U.S. policy prohibits direct military aid to Mali because the fledgling government is a result of a coup'.
Don't you find those words almost laughable. It will not of course stop the US. They will get others to their dirty work if need be. They have supported so many rebels in the past, although mostly this has been by covert means. The cowards way.
Cameron will hope for a few 'brownie' points if he runs to the aid of the US. Brits may feel differently. We have no stomach for more costly conflict, when the Condems are cutting away at British society, to help the elusive 1%. They may maintain their aim is to cut the deficit but in reality that is not the case. If it were there are easier ways available to them.
Yes, we must not forget that there are kidnap victims at stake now, but that has not prompted fast action from the UK government in the past. Thursday Cameron is to chair an emergency meeting of COBRA, Cabinet Office briefing room A, which is used in times of emergency.
Since the Arab Spring of 2011, partly instigated and controlled by the West, the Middle East has become a hot-bed for Islamic activists. For the West any involvement is always about oil. Nigeria has seen the advance of rebel group Boko Haram, another Islamist miltant or rather terrorist group.
So, who are the rebels in Mali.
Mali gained independence from France in 1960. According to the BBC,
The three main Islamists groups in Mali are Ansar Dine, Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).
Rebel group Aqim has a reputation for capturing westerners for ransom. It wants to 'free' mali from the French. Totally. It wants to spread Islam. It includes foreign fighters. There are claims that it helped train the terror group Boko Haram.
'Militant group Katibat Moulathamine - "The Masked Ones - has reportedly claimed that one of its affiliates is responsible for the attack, and that five foreign nationals are being held in a factory on site, and 36 others in their living quarters.'
We are wondrring about all of the rebels the West has helped to power, in Libya, Egypt and in currently in Syria.
The situation remains volatile. Updates as available.