By AP, 3:37AM BST 06 Jul 2013
The Malian military has entered the northern city of Kidal, returning for the first time since they were chased out 16 months ago by a Tuareg separatist group, and later by an army of al-Qaeda-linked fighters.
„It was around 5pm that the soldiers entered Kidal and penetrated Camp 1 inside the city. The Malian military was accompanied by the French military, just as they were when our soldiers entered Timbuktu and Gao,“ said Lt. Col. Souleymane Maiga, the director of information and public relations for the Malian military.
The return of the Malian forces was confirmed by Kidal’s deputy mayor. Kidal, like the rest of northern Mali, fell to a mixture of rebel groups in March of 2012. It remained in rebel hands during the past six months, even after French forces launched a military intervention to free northern Mali from the fighters, succeeding in liberating all of the other major towns.
Tuareg rebels re-entered Kidal in February and March of this year, erecting roadblocks, levying taxes and creating a de facto Tuareg state.
The updating of the elreaoctte list which ended Juin 25th has been ill-conducted. Huge number of people have not been able to find their name on this list because it was ill -sorted out. Furthermore, young folks which reached the age of voting in 2013 are not enrolled. And up to now finding the NINA card is a real hurdle race for many individuals. How can one speak about a legitimate President when a huge number of people desiring to cast their vote are denied their rights to do so ? What is behind the decision to go for the election on July 28th being aware of all this mess ?Forcing the election for July responds to France own agenda. I guess the long term decision Mohamed is talking about is just for the benefit of the separist group MNLA. It seems that France is going to enforce the deal it signed with the rebelles group well before the conflit : getting back its hostages in compensation for an autonomy for Kidal. That is the only thing that urges Frane7ois Hollande to push for the election by July 28th. In doing that he plants the wrong seeds for all the Sahelian region. The outcome could be awfull.
An airstrip hurdends of miles from any population center would hardly be considered strategic under most circumstances. US and French military and intelligence forces don’t require a long runway (such as what appears to be at Tessalit) to launch and recover drone sorties, nor for transports like Transalls and C-17s. Unless they’re planning to deploy fighter aircraft to northern Mali, the airstrip at Tessalit wouldn’t provide any capability that couldn’t more easily be obtained elsewhere. Moreover, the airfield at Tessalit appears to lack any kind of logistics or support infrastructure (hangars, fuel storage, or any buildings at all) which would have to be built to sustain significant air operations. It would be comparatively easier to use established air bases in Bamako, or even Chad or Senegal. Thus we return to Bruce’s original question: can something be considered to be strategic if it has no intrinsic value apart from a (probably temporary) proximity to current events?