While continuing to try to put a bright face on the extremely ugly aftermath of the French invasion, top officials are conceding that they are now seeing the “bloodiest phase” of the Mali War yet seen, killing dozens of rebels daily.
This is a stunning admission, as French officials have repeatedly put forward the idea that they have already achieved virtually all of their military goals in the conflict and have been treating the current phase, despite the high death tolls coming daily, as “mop up” that would soon be taken over by African nations.
French military leaders also say that they are still “skeptical” about the Chadian claim of having killed top rebel Mokhtar Belmokhtar, pressing the government to “prove it,” while insisting it wouldn’t make much difference on the ground anyhow.
Mali’s various rebel factions were chased out of most cities almost immediately, but have a large amount of desert territory to operate out of, and the large distances between northern towns are going to make it difficult for France to deploy troops able to defend all the different desert towns.
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