Mali Jihadists Advance

As the international community (the UN, ECOWAS, the U.S., France, and NATO), slowly decide how to address the growing problem of the Jihadist takeover of northern Mali, the aforementioned Jihadists are not waiting around.  The combined Jihadist coalition of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Din and the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), began an offensive in central Mali near Kona, a town near Mopti on January 9, 2013.  After brief fighting, the Jihadists seized the town, capturing several government soldiers in the process.

As a result of the new round of fighting, the previously planned meetings between Malian officials, Tuareg separatists and leaders of the Jihadist militant groups occupying northern Mali were postponed to January 19, according to an aide to Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré, the official mediator.

All this comes as Mali government and its foreign allies put together a planned force of about 3,000 (that may or may not have U.S./European air support), to take back northern Mali.  As the world dithers about what to do in Mali, reports from the Jihadist-occupied territory claim that al-Qaida and her allies are fortifying the north of Mali with tunnels, bunkers, and other defenses.

Central African Republic War Threatens to Involve France, U.S., Others

Rebels seized several major cities and towns as they advanced on the Central African Republic’s capital city of Bangui in December, 2012. Neighboring Chad sent around 2,000 troops to aid the CAR government. After only three weeks of fighting, by December 30, the rebels controlled about one-third of the country, and were in place to assault Bangui. Also in late December, France sent more troops to augment the forces they already had in the country. France had publicly stated that they would not intervene to save the government from the rebels, but were only interested in protecting French citizens. Unless a resolution to this new conflict is arrived at soon, this new African bush war will become one of the new conflicts and wars of 2013.

The U.S. evacuated diplomats and other citizens, but the U.S. Special Forces troops in the CAR are to remain in place.  These American troops are in the CAR to aid in the international effort to capture Joseph Kony and end the threat posed by his Lord’s Resistance Army.

Senegal President Threatens to Send Troops into Gambia

President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal

President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal Threatens Gambia

Following the Casamance rebel attack of December 21, 2011, Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade ordered his troops to pursue the rebels, even if that meant entering into neighboring Gambia. President Wade, among others, believes Gambia is a long-time supporter of the MFDC rebels.  Prior rebel attacks over the years have resulted in armed incursions by Senegalese forces into The Gambia.

Casamance War in Senegal Heats Up

 

Senegal Map with Casamance in Red

Senegal Map with Casamance in Red

The Casamance region of Senegal is marked in red on this Senegal Map

The Casamance War in Senegal

The ongoing war in the Casamance region of Senegal pits the Jolo people of the Casamance region against the government of Senegal. The rebels, who call themselves the Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance (MFDC), seek independence for the region. The Jolo are primarily Christian, while the rest of Senegal is primarily Muslim.  Despite a cease-fire arranged in 2004, violence has continued on and off ever since.  In 2010, an arms shipment from Iran, bound for the Casamance rebels, was intercepted in Nigeria.  In December, 2011, rebels attacked the Senegalese Army, resulting in 12 deaths.

 

http://www.historyguy.com/casamance_senegal_war.html

The End of the Iraq War? Was it Worth It?

Iraq War Battles

Iraq War Battles

Was the Iraq War worth it?  With nearly 5,000 American dead, hundreds of thousands (at least) Iraqi dead, a Shiite regime in power in Baghdad, increasing tensions between the Arab Iraqis and the Kurdish Iraqis, and a plethora of other issues, was the war worth it from the American Perspective?

For more resources  on the Iraq War, see http://www.historyguy.com/iraq_war_links.html
Iraq
War Combat Video

 

Feel free to add your comments below on the worth of the Iraq War.

NATO Hits Pakistan Border Again, Killing 24 Pakistan Troops

Pakistan is once again coming under fire, literally, for serving as a safe haven for Afghan Taliban forces using the ill-defined border region as a base from which they launch attacks on NATO/ISAF/Afghan forces inside Afghanistan.  Below are incidents and conflicts involving the NATO/ISAF mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  See also http://www.historyguy.com/wars_of_pakistan.htm

 

Video of NATO Raid on Pakistan
U.S. Drone War in Pakistan (2004-Present)–The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) uses unmanned Predator drone aircraft to cross the Pakistani border and launch missiles at suspected Taliban and al-Qaida forces and camps. Pakistan repeatedly denounces these attacks as a violation of their sovereignty. Various sources place the number of Pakistani/Taliban/al-Qaida casualties as a result of these attacks at between 1,700 and 2,600 as of November, 2011.

NATO Raid on Pakistan Military Outpost (Sept. 30, 2010)–NATO helicopters attack a border outpost, killing three Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan retaliates by closing the border to NATO supplies for two weeks.

U.S. Navy SEAL Raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan (May 1, 2011)–U.S. Special Forces raided a compound inside Pakistan, killing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

NATO Raids on Pakistan Military Outposts (Nov. 25, 2011)–NATO aircraft attacked two Pakistani border posts, killing at least 24 Pakistani troops. NATO was attempting to target Taliban forces along the border, in Salala, a village in Pakistan’s Mohmand tirbal area near the border with Kunar Province in Afghanistan. (see Pakistan Border Region Map below).

Kenya Invasion of Somalia Update 10.18.11

al-Shabab War in Somalia Update:

After the disintigration of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) after the U.S.-aided Ethiopian Invasion of 2006, the al-Shabab militia became the leading Islamist military group. In 2007, Shabab publicly aligned itself with al-Qaida, and has waged a bloody guerrilla war against the TFG government forces and the African Union troops (primarily troops from Uganda and Burundi), in Mogadishu and in southern Somalia. Al-Shabab is considered a terrorist group by Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (see also U.S. Special Forces Attack on al-Qaida in Somalia (September, 2009)

Shabab engaged in a terrorist attack in Uganda in 2010, and in the autumn of 2011, Shabab militants kidnapped several foreigners from Kenyan soil, prompting a Kenyan military intervention in southern Somalia to battle the Shabab fighters. Kenyan government sources claimed that the goal of their invasion was to end the Shabab presence in the southern Somali city of Kismayo.

Witnesses reported seeing 25Kenyan armoured vehicles carrying Kenyan soldiers passing through the Somali town of Dhobley, and there were reports of warplanes bombing two Shabab bases near the border.

According to the BBC, Somali government troops are acting in conjunction with the Kenyan forces ito attack the al-Shabab-controlled areas in southern Somalia. The third day of the Kenyan offensive featured a slowing down of Kenyan forces due to heavy rain and mud in a region with few paved roads.

Map Kenya and Somalia

Map of Kenya and southern Somalia in 2011

http://www.historyguy.com/somalia_conflict_shabab_war.htm

Kenya Intervenes in Somalia. Is This At America’s Bidding?

Kenyan forces intervene in southern Somalia to battle the al-Shabab Islamist militia.  Shabab has engaged in terrorist activities in Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya, and is allied with al-Qaida.

Kenya and the Transitional Somali government are supported by the United States.  And, can it be a coincidence that this intervention by an American-allied African nation takes place only two days after President Obama announces the American intervention in the Lord’s Resistance Army Insurgency that has bedeviled Uganda, southern Sudan, Congo, and the Central African Republic?  Note that Uganda,  has thousands of troops in Somalia in support of the transitional government.

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http://www.historyguy.com/somalia_conflict_shabab_war.htm

The Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA) Insurgency in Uganda

The Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA) Insurgency in Uganda

http://www.historyguy.com/lords_resistance_army_insurgency.htm

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)

The insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Krony against the government of Uganda began in 1987 in the aftermath of the failed Holy Spirit Movement Rebellion of Alice Auma (also known as Alice Lakwena). After the Holy Spirit Movement lost a major battle against the Ugandan government at th ebattle of Jinja, Alice Auma fled to Kenya while Joseph Kony emerged as the leader of the remaining rebel forces. With Kony’s assumption of power came a shift in the rebels’ strategy and a new name: the Lord’s Resistance Army. Krony declared himself to be a prophet, emerging as a “Spirit Guide,” and inspired his rebel troops to fight the Ugandan government.

Krony’s beliefs (or tactics) emerged from a twisted understanding of Christian and local spiritualist pagan beliefs. His Lord’s Resistance Army is as much a cult as it is a military force. The LRA insurgency gained control of most of northern Uganda, with significan aid from the government of Sudan, which was in conflict with the Ugandan government.

In line with the cult-like beliefs of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Kony’s forces exhibited incredible brutality on the civilian populations they encountered. Women would be raped, children kidnapped and forced to join the LRA as “child soldiers,” anyone who broke the the arcane rules of the LRA would have their hands or other limbs cut off.

In 2005, Kony was indicted by the International Criminal Court for leading the LRA in a campaign of “murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, as well as mass burnings of houses and looting of camp settlements”during his insurgency, and for personally ordering his troops to target and kill civilian populations.

Over the years, repeated Ugandan military offensives reclaimed most of the territory controlled by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

As his control over northern Uganda waned, Kony led his dwindling army through the borderlands of Uganda, southern Sudan, the Congo, and the Central African Repbublic. Everywhere he travelled, his men killed, raped, pillaged, and looted civilian populations. In October, 2011, American President Barack Obama announced that 100 “combat-ready” American Special Forces troops were joining with the Ugandan military to hunt down Kony and bring him to justice.

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Islamist Guerrillas Bedevil Both Israel and Egypt in Sinai

Israeli Casualties On August 18, 2011, squads of heavily-armed Popular Resistance Committee (PRC)  guerrillas from Gaza travelled about 120 miles through Egyptian Sinai to attack Israeli citizens near the southern Israeli city of Eilat, killing eight Israelis. Israel retaliated with airstrikes on targets inside Gaza. The PRC is a relatively small Palestinian resistance group that has at times served as an ally of Hamas.

This attack on Israel took place just as Egyptian forces began targeting Salafist Islamist guerrillas who have been attacking Egyptian  pipelines in the Sinai. These attacks by bySalafist Islamist forces believed tied to al-Qaida, prompted Egypt’s military rulers to seek permission from both Israel (due to troop level restrictions in their mutual peace agreement), and from Hamas, the Palestinian faction that rules over Gaza.  Egypt sent over 1,000 security forces backed by armored personell carriers launched a campaign to defeat the Islamist guerrillas.

 http://www.historyguy.com/gaza_war.htm#gazawar2011

http://www.historyguy.com/wars_of_egypt.html

See also: