Is US Involvement in Mali War Really ‘Limited’?

Washington claims its only direct involvement in France’s military intervention in Mali includes the US Air Force flying in French soldiers and 124 tons of equipment. Beyond that, the Pentagon will only admit vaguely to “intelligence support.” Whether the US is flying drones in Mali, whether Special Operations teams are secretly conducting operations inside Mali, and whether the CIA is covertly involved – the Pentagon has no comment.

Danger Room:

[George Little, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman] wouldn’t discuss any unarmed U.S. surveillance drones reportedly considered for use over Mali at French request. Nor would he discuss the use of any special-operations forces in the conflict. Since 9/11, unconventional forces and surveillance aircraft have often been a vanguard for a direct U.S. role in campaigns against terrorist organizations that relocate to areas where they perceive they won’t be pursued.

But the emerging line from the Pentagon is that, for now at least, the Mali war isn’t going to be like that. U.S. troops are “not contributing” to a training effort for African forces that France wants to conduct ground operations in Mali, Little said. The Pentagon is still considering a French request for midair refueling aircraft. And outside a handful of Air Force communications specialists who helped direct traffic at an air base near Bamako, U.S. personnel haven’t been on the ground in Mali.

“Our support of French operations in Mali does not involve what is traditionally referred to as boots on the ground,” Little told reporters during a Tuesday briefing. There’s a caveat: “We don’t have any plans to put on the ground at this time in support of French operations.” And Little wasn’t speaking to any possible CIA involvement in Mali; it’s worth noting that the CIA has placed operatives on the ground in places where the U.S. has publicly stated it wouldn’t send ground troops.

There has already been some evidence that in the months preceding the French intervention, the US had been flying drones over Mali and secretly conducting special operations inside the country. They didn’t tell us about that; I’m not sure why they’d tell us whether it was going on now.

83 thoughts on “Is US Involvement in Mali War Really ‘Limited’?”

  1. How about US telling France.., go ahead we back u up.., but don't forget we share 50/50 as we did in Libya…, Balkan, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Mali…, and other countries in Africa.

  2. the US is now creating its new hole. This war will cause US government bankrupt. It had much better to improve US economical condition than involves in this war. Really this is much much better for the US people

  3. How tiresome. US was al over sub-Saharan Africa since Bush administration in the name of fighting 'terrorism". In fact, training camps, equipment, airfields — all were funded by our Congress, no questions asked. They were part of the trained "rebels" in Libya, and still use uniforms that Qatar provided for Libyan"rebels".

    US, in the name of fighting AQIM (orderly bureaucratis naming conventions are not common in rag tag groups). trained soldiers from Mali in US, and they staged a coup, just to prevent elections. . After a little "consernation", the coup leadership is now getting all the help it needs. AQ in Maghreb is now the "bad guy". First use the "trainees" to stir up the trouble, then justify the attack to save the world. Remember Afganistan, Balkans, Chechnya, "Awakening" in Iraq, rebels in Darfur, etc. Now, that European population is in economic pickle it will approve everything. Terrorism, the gift that keeps on giving. And thus, investments in building the terrorists up, just to smash them down and rearrange a map of a region — is well worth it.

  4. I am not the greatest supporter of the US and the West in general but this situation is somewhat different. I feel like most of the comments above show no real understanding of the situation in Mali. The terrorists within Mali might not be a direct threat to the US but they are endangering local populations and have a very negative influence on the livelihoods of the people of that region (destroying National Heritage – the biggest source of revenue for local population – because they consider it blasphemous, applying extreme Sharia law on populations that have an extremely different view of Islam…). I can say with great conviction that the overwhelming majority of Malians Want foreign aid to deal with the extremists up north (as the Malian army is basically non-existent and under trained while the opposing side has access to advanced arms – from Lybia- and well trained soldiers). The past few months, everyone was extremely angry at the transitional government for not acting more aggressively towards the extremists who would have taken the capital were it not for France's intervention.

    While it is always good to question the US motives, it this situation they would act in accordance with the will of the local population.

    1. Give the US an inch and they take your arm off. Don't give Uncle Sam any "credit" for doing anything right. That's your first mistake. Because when you do they use that to excuse everything else they've done. Big mistake.

  5. of course the U.S. is covertly using drones. how else do you explain such precision air strikes. it ain't the french war planes.

  6. Beyond that, the Pentagon will only admit vaguely to “intelligence support.” Whether the US is flying drones in Mali, whether Special Operations teams are secretly conducting operations inside Mali, and whether the CIA is covertly involved – the Pentagon has no comment.

  7. Oh, and another thing, it's a Malian "problem" and neither the US nor France's to "answer" to. If they want them gone they'll get rid of them in their own way. You didn't see the US or France bombing anyone in Rwanda when over half a million were butchered, did you? Why? Simple really. There wasn't anything worth "stealing"!

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  18. How about US telling France.., go ahead we back u up.., but don't forget we share 50/50 as we did in Libya…, Balkan, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Mali…, and other countries in Africa.

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