Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Stroll of the Light Brigade

The Mali Caliphate sits there and nobody seems in a hurry to do anything about it. The international community is preparing the most telegraphed whiff in the history of warfare.

People keep saying we invaded Iraq with too few troops to win and never committed enough troops to win the counter-insurgency that raged after. Winning the conventional and counter-insurgency campaigns should have taken away that argument, but the belief persists.

As our Nuanced Americans tell us we need to learn the lessons of Iraq, the big-brained international community fetishists plan a new offensive to retake northern Mali from the Tuaregs and jihadis of al Qaeda who set up shop in that France-sized region:

ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) formally approved the plan to send a force of 3,200 African peacekeepers, along with at least several hundred Malian soldiers, into northern Mali and destroy Islamic radical and Tuareg tribal militias that have controlled the area since last April.

Add in 2,300 Algerians and South Africans.

With six months to prepare for the counter-attack north, I hoped that the Tuaregs could be persuaded to switch side. Apparently that isn't happening. Not now anyway (from the first Strategypage link):

MNLA and Ansari Dine have offered to work with the Mali government to destroy al Qaeda control of the north in return for autonomy for the Tuareg tribes that predominate up there and the continued use of Sharia (Islamic) law. The southerners are willing to discuss the former but are hostile to the latter. Meanwhile MNLA and Ansari Dine are finding that they lack the firepower to defeat al Qaeda.

I didn't think Mali could contribute much, and Strategypage says that even the paltry amount I assumed was way too much. So fewer than 6,000 troops drawn from all around the continent of Africa are supposed to be the spearhead that dislodges the jihadis and somehow persuades the Tuaregs to rise up against the jihadis? I don't think so.

As I've long said, this mission screams for France. Three thousand Foreign legion troopers, and you're talking a potent spearhead with 6,000 other troops to support them. You can talk about how good rock soup is when you keep adding ingredients that don't matter. Until you add in the French, it just isn't going to do any good.

And people still think we invaded Iraq with too few troops to win. Sheesh.