Last week French officials were openly courting Gulf nations to get involved with, or at least bankroll, their invasion of Mali. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar were the focus of the recruitment drive.
Today, French officials have turned entirely on Qatar and are openly accusing them of being the funding behind the Mali Islamist factions, pointing to the presence of the Qatari Red Crescent in the area.
The exiled mayor of the rebel-held city of Gao pointed to the aid group’s provision of food and medicine to his town, even after he had been chased out by rebel fighters, as proof that they are backing the rebels.
The speculation is that Qatar is keen to see a seceded northern Mali because they would be in a good position to forge close business ties with the new nation, which is believed to have significant oil resources. France, on the other hand, is determined to see the southern junta rule the entire nation.