Malian intervention serves French interests. Fighting terrorism, respecting Mali's territorial integrity, and furthering democracy conceal dark intentions.
Contesting for the country's north won't be easy. It's mountainous, rugged, and vast. It replicates France in size. It's long enjoyed considerable autonomy. Protracted conflict looks likely.
It's already taken a toll. Algeria's involved. Rebel fighters seized its In Amenas gas facility. Hundreds of hostages were taken. Hollande defended France's intervention, saying"
"What's happening in Algeria justifies even more the decision I took in the name of France to go to Mali's aid." Saying so is duplicitous doublespeak.
French intervention was planned months ago. It was done jointly with Washington. At issue is defending mutual interests. Imperial priorities matter most.
The Algerian gas facility standoff continues. Many hostages were freed. Others are still held. It's unclear how many died. Conflicting reports suggest dozens.
Rebel fighters demand negotiations. They want Malian intervention ended. They proposed hostages exchanges. They want US political prisoners Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and Aafia Siddiqui freed.
Both were wrongly convicted. Abdel-Rahman is a former CIA asset. He's known as the blind sheikh. He was given a US visa and green card. He was protected as long as he was valued.
Later he was targeted. He was convicted on spurious charges. In 1996, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Aafia Siddiqui got 86 years for being Muslim in America at the wrong time. Her conviction and sentencing reflect gross miscarriage of justice hypocrisy.
In US and proxy Pakistani hands, she was abducted, imprisoned, tortured, prosecuted, and convicted on bogus charges.
Stepped-up US intervention looms. On January 18, Hillary Clinton said " it is absolutely essential that we broaden and deepen our counterterrorism cooperation going forward with Algeria and all countries of the region."
White House press secretary Jay Carney suggested greater US involvement, saying:
"(W)e're obviously very interested in and focused on terrorist groups and terrorist actions in the region and around the world."
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said:
"Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no sanctuary, no refuge - not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere."