It was only a week ago that top French terror judge Marc Trevedic warned that his nation’s push for a war in Mali was making them a potential terrorism target. With France now invading Mali outright, that threat is becoming very real.
When the attacks began on Saturday, France had already stepped up its terror alert level. That level is being stepped up more today as a spokesman for one of the rebel factions has promised retaliation against France for its attacks in Gao.
France’s impromptu invasion started with only 500 troops on the ground and has relied mostly on air strikes against northern towns so far. Officials say that the troop level could quickly be increased to 2,500, and both Senegal and Niger have promised 500 troops apiece as well.
Mali’s Islamist rebels are made up of several different groups, and some have ties with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). With a significant Malian minority living in France, the potential for recruitment of attackers is significant, particularly if the civilian toll continues to mount.