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Terrorism and global inst­ability

shadiasimpson, [email protected]

Terrorism and global inst­ability

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OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS there was increasing evidence that France wanted to assert its power in many flashpoints around the world. It started with former President Nicolas Sarkozy and now being promoted by current President François Hollande.
The opportunity has presented itself in the Central African country of Mali where French forces have bombed the bases of rebels, who have threatened to advance on the capital Bamako from their strongholds in the north.
Hollande said France had decided to act to stop the offensive, which could create “a terrorist state at the doorstep of France and Europe”. Though somewhat of an exaggeration, the reality is that terrorism must be stopped everywhere and at all costs.
It is reported that the hardcore elements of the jihadists in Mali have come from the now-defunct Algerian rebel group, the GSPC. They were driven out of Algeria by a long and bloody counter-insurgency campaign and have found sanctuary in the unprotected wastelands of northern Mali.
They have enriched themselves through smuggling and kidnapping for ransom, and still hold eight French hostages. The most likely way for the Islamist militants to retaliate against France would be against French interests in the region.
Unfortunately, the civil strife in Mali is now being felt right in the heart of Paris. Hollande has beefed up security in anticipation of possible revenge attacks from militants.
Over the weekend French military aircraft attacked several Islamist targets in Mali in order to destroy terrorist groups there. French officials have said the insurgent advance has been stopped.
France’s anti-terrorism alert system known as Vigipirate is being reinforced immediately, with security boosted at public buildings and transport networks, particularly rail and air.
According to BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, the threat to “strike at the heart of France” is not exactly an empty boast, but historically al-Qaeda-linked groups in the Sahel region of north-west Africa have found it easier to operate in their immediate area of Mali, Mauritania and neighbouring countries.
His remarks came soon after one group threatened reprisals against France. Apparently, it is feared that the crisis in Mali and Somalia are capable of stirring unrest and chaos on the mainland in Europe.
The precautionary alert in France is likely to infringe upon civil liberties and pose as a major political issue in weeks and months to come.
At a time when the struggle against terrorism is in a decisive phase worldwide, it is in everybody’s interests to support efforts to prevent terrorism from mushrooming across the globe and spreading instability.