A clear sighted appraisal of the Kidal debacle
" During the operation Serval (the French and allied intervention in January 2012) , when the French and Chadian troops arrived in Kidal , the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA ) consisting of Tuaregs who had been defeated by Al- Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb ( AQIM) was reinstalled in its region with elements from the Islamist Ansar Dine. This resettlement in the region took place with the blessing and under the protection of the French forces which prevented the return of the Malian army in the region. " (...) " Paradoxically , the situation was less anarchic before the intervention because the Ansar Dine group was dominant in the region and was applying sharia law . There was then a real authority. Ansar Dine then disappeared and is now recycled as the High Council for the unity of Azawad ( HCUA ) . Currently, the MNLA is unable to maintain order in the region and the same goes for the HCUA, both under the gaze of French and Chadian forces. The initial mistake was not to disarm the Tuareg MNLA when the Serval troops arrived at Kidal.
"France has always supported the MNLA. The Tuaregs have always been regarded as victims of the southern Malians that do not recognize their rights. Members MNLA have widely cultivated this image. The French pretended to believe that there was a distinction between Ansar Dine - Tuareg jihadists - and MNLA which was considered a brave movement, certainly separatist, but fighting for the cause of the oppressed Tuaregs. This view ignored the porosity between these two movements. Proof of this is the recent statement from the MNLA which announced that it would dissolve in order to merge with the HCUA, new name for the Ansar Dine. "
It is clear that , despite the announcements of France , the number of French soldiers deployed there cannot be reduced. Nobody ever thought we would be able to do so. Today we recognize that we will undoubtedly need to keep thousands of French soldiers and that we are in this situation for several years to come. If the French were to leave today no one would at this time be able to prevent large-scale islamist attack . Only the Chadians would be capable but the Chadian public opinion has begun to swing against the intervention and against the Malians who are not truly grateful for their sacrifices.
What is certain is that the Malian government is open to dialogue. This leaves for France to accept the disarmament of the Tuareg separatists .