by John Glaser
The US’s involvement in the French-led military offensive in Mali, however limited, is a pointless policy completely lacking a robust security justification, as Mali and its militants pose no threat.
According to The New York Times, “officials in Washington still have only an impressionistic understanding of the militant groups that have established a safe haven in Mali, and they are divided about whether some of these groups even pose a threat to the United States.”
In other words, the officials making policy in Washington have little to no idea of the underlying forces at work in Mali and many think the situation poses no threat to the US.
In addition, there is an obvious blowback factor here. The Times report adds that “a Western military intervention could transform militant groups that once had only a regional focus into avowed enemies of the United States — in other words, that the backlash might end up being worse than the original threat.”
“Washington,” the Associated Press reports, “is concerned that greater US involvement could make Mali a magnet for would-be jihadis from elsewhere.”
Indeed, immediately following the French-led military offensive in Mali, the Islamist militants suddenly became unified against foreign intervention. Those holding hostages in Algeria have said explicitly that it is a response to the Western intervention in Mali.
The Obama administration is aiding the French offensive in Mali to a considerable extent. However, officials have denied any plans to send in troops, while claiming they are still coming to a decision on whether or not to provide the French with intelligence support for their air assaults.