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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

French Occupation Forces Continue Imperialist Attacks on Resistance Fighters in Mali

October 24, 2013

Editor's Note:

The French occupation forces continue their imperialist mission of subjugating the Malian people to their imperialist dictation. In order to justify their aggression, they describe the Malian resistance fighters as "terrorists, extremists, and Islamists," following their Zionist media masters who describe Muslims everywhere as such when they resist foreign invasions.

The following France 24 news stories included such descriptions but this editor changed them into "resistance fighters," the more accurate and objective description of those who resist foreign imperialist invasions.

A French soldier in Mali A view from Mali

France in 'major' operation against Mali extremists

AFP, October 24, 2013

By Sam Ball (text)  

A “large-scale” military operation against resistance forces in Mali has been launched by French, Malian and UN troops, a spokesman for the French armed forces said Thursday.

The operation aims to “avoid [a] resurgence" of resistance organisations in the country, Colonel Gilles Jaron told reporters.

He said "several hundred" French soldiers were involved in the operation alongside Malian soldiers and members of the UN's MINUSMA mission, adding: "It is the first time we have seen forces of significant size working together."

France launched a military intervention in its former colony in January this year after resistance fighters exploited a rebellion by Tuareg separatists to seize control of the north of the country.

After successfully ousting the Mali fighters, France handed over control of the peacekeeping mission to MINUSMA, though the country still has more than 3,000 troops stationed in Mali.

However, recent months have seen a rise in violence in the country in the form of both attacks by Islamic extremists as well as skirmishes between security forces and Tuareg separatists.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed two Chadian troops from the UN mission and injured six other peacekeepers in an assault on a checkpoint at the entry to the northern town of Tessalit.

Colonel Gilles, however, stressed that such incidents had remained relatively small in scale and had been perpetrated largely by groups wanting to “dampen spirits without necessarily having the ability to engage in combat in the long term”.

“We know that not all of these terrorist groups […] in Mali were eliminated,” he said. “And at times, they may resurface as we move toward legislative elections," he said.

Mali is due to hold its first legislative elections since the Tuareg rebellion on November 24.

Earlier this month, the UN appealed for more troops and helicopters to be sent to Mali to help it with its peacekeeping operation. The UN Security Council originally mandated a 12,600-strong force in the country, but currently has just 5,200 troops on the ground.

Suspected Resistance Fighters in Mali blow up bridge near Gao

By News Wires (text)  

France 24, October 24, 2013

Suspected resistance fighters have taken the offensive around Gao in north Mali, wounding two civilians Tuesday when they blew up a bridge, a day after shelling the town and injuring a soldier.

"Early this Tuesday, Islamists dynamited one of two small bridges near ... Bentia, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the border with Niger, leaving two civilians wounded," said Ibrahim Cisse, a local councillor for the Gao region.

Cisse said that the assailants "wearing turbans" arrived by motorbike at the bridge that crosses the Niger River at Bentia, then destroyed it.

"In this place... there are two small bridges. The aim of the Islamists was to blow up both bridges, but fortunately only the old one was badly damaged," a police source in Gao said.

"The new bridge, which is the most frequently used, sustained only very slight damage," the source added.

Malian soldiers were sent to the spot, along with French troops deployed in the desert north of the vast country, "to avoid other acts of sabotage" by armed fighters, the police source said.

Malian resistance groups were driven out of Gao, the largest town in the north, along with Kidal and Timbuktu, after they occupied all three in the wake of a coup in Bamako last year.

France keeps 3,000 troops in its former colony out of a contingent it despatched last January to help end their rule of the country, but Paris plans to draw down the force to 1,000 men by the end of the year.

The bridges at Bentia were attacked a day after armed resistance fighters fired shells on Gao itself, wounding a Malian soldier, and come 10 days after a suicide attack in Timbuktu killed two civilians and four bombers, as well as wounding seven Malian soldiers.

A spokesman for resistance group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), on Tuesday claimed responsibility for both the Gao attacks and warned of further operations, in a message to AFP.

"In the name of all mujahedeen, we claim the attacks against the evil-doers in Gao and the attack on the bridge (that served) to transport the enemies of Islam into the land of Islam," Abou Walid Sahraoui said, warning that "attacks on the enemies of Islam will continue".

Responsibility for the Timbuktu attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which was founded in Algeria and operates across the Sahel region south of the Sahara.

On Monday night, Mali's Defence Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga denounced the Gao shelling by "presumed terrorists" and said that "three of the four devices" fired had exploded.

Maiga said he wanted to "reassure the population that in coordination with our partners in Serval (the French operation) and MINUSMA (the UN's African military force in Mali), our deployment has been strengthened".

He urged the population "to remain calm and above all to share information with personnel of the armed forces and security forces in order to help them track down the enemy in all its forms".

Last year Mali was upended by a military coup that toppled the elected president and was followed by a Tuareg separatist insurgency.

Malian resistance fighters then took the upper hand in northern towns until they were ousted.

French and African military support for Mali's army drove the resistance fighters into desert hideouts, notably the Ifhogas mountains in the northeast, from which they still operate.

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