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OMG ... France declares war on al-Qaida

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tacmotusn, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    <CITE class=vcard>By ELAINE GANLEY, Associated Press Writer Elaine Ganley, Associated Press Writer </CITE>– <ABBR class=recenttimedate title=2010-07-27T14:01:15-0700>36 mins ago</ABBR>
    <!-- end .byline -->PARIS – France has declared war on al-Qaida, and matched its fighting words with a first attack on a base camp of the terror network's North African branch, after the terror network killed a French aid worker it took hostage in April.
    The declaration and attack marked a shift in strategy for France, usually discrete about its behind-the-scenes battle against terrorism.
    "We are at war with al-Qaida," Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the death of 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau.
    The humanitarian worker had been abducted April 20 or 22 in Niger by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and was later taken to Mali, officials said.
    The killers will "not go unpunished," Sarkozy said in unusually strong language, given France's habit of employing quiet cooperation with its regional allies — Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Algeria — in which the al-Qaida franchise was spawned amid an Islamist insurgency.
    The Salafist Group for Call and Combat formally merged with al-Qaida in 2006 and spread through the Sahel region — parts of Mauritania, Mali and Niger.
    Officials suggest France will activate accords with these countries to stop the terrorists in their tracks.
    "It's a universal threat that concerns the entire world ... not just France or the West," Defense Minister Herve Morin said Tuesday on France-2 television. "We will support local authorities so these assassins and (their) commanders are tracked, judged and taken before justice and punished. And, yes, we will help them."
    Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger in April opened a joint military headquarters deep in the desert to respond to threats from traffickers and the al-Qaida offshoot. U.S. Special Forces have helped the four nations train troops in recent years.
    The United States said it would help the French "in any way that we can" to bring those who killed Germaneau to justice, according to U.S. State Dept. spokesman P.J. Crowley.
    "There is no religion that sanctions what can only be described as cold-blooded murder," Crowley said Tuesday.
    Fillon refused to say how France would act. "But we will," he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.
    And perhaps it already has. On Thursday, the French backed Mauritanian forces in attacking an al-Qaida camp on the border with Mali, killing at least six suspected terrorists. It is the first time France is known to have attacked an al-Qaida base.
    France said it was a last-ditch effort to save its citizen, while Mauritania said it was trying to stop an imminent attack by fighters gathering at the base.
    For the French, the move may have backfired. The al-Qaida group said in an audio message broadcast Sunday that it had killed Germaneau in retaliation for the raid. However, French officials suggested, however, that the hostage, who had a heart problem, may already have been dead. Even now, "We have no proof of life or death," Morin said.
    "We can expect an increase in the French riposte," said Antoine Sfeir, an expert on Islamist terrorists who has traveled in the region.
    An estimated 400-500 such fighters are thought to roam the Sahel region, a desert expanse as large as the European Union.

    Despite meager numbers, the region's al-Qaida fighters pose a clear threat. Among the more recent victims, a British captive was beheaded last year and two Spanish aid workers were taken hostage in Mauritania in November. Spain is working to free them. Mauritanian soldiers also have fallen in numerous attacks.
    The head of the French Institute of Strategic Analysis suggested the French government's rhetoric was normal.
    "It's important to make that kind of announcement," Francois Gere said. "I think it's made of the same stuff" as former U.S. President George W. Bush's tough line on al-Qaida.
    But "a government has to make clear it must respond strongly" while maintaining the discretion needed to ensure cooperation, Gere said. In the past France has been cautious because those governments don't want the appearance of interference from the West, he said. Spain has maintained a low profile as videos by the al-Qaida franchise regularly call for the conquest of "al-Andalus" — a reference to the period of Muslim rule of much of Spain in medieval times.
  2. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    How long before they surrender....[whiteflag]

    Taking all bets.
  3. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Or go from "war" to nation building.
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Damn, you beat me to it. lol
  5. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Hey you have to give the French their due. Their military surplus is excellent. Almost all of it in like new condition. Weapons for the most part unfired and only dropped once.
  6. billinit

    billinit Monkey+

    It always kills me when my fellow Americans make disparaging comments about the French. Hundreds of thousands of french soldiers fought bravely -- and died -- against Hitler's savage war machine at the outset of WWII, despite being at a terrible disadvantage in both tactics and equipment that was the fault of the entire WORLD (go back and read about this...)

    Hundreds of thousands more Frenchmen fought bravely in the hideous trenches of WWI, a fight that the U.S. joined only belatedly near the end of the conflict.

    Most importantly, our nation owes its very freedom to France, without whose help (both naval and financial) our own Revolution would've failed miserably. I weep for the United States when the uninformed masses comment about things they little understand due to a complete lack of historical memory.

    God, sometimes I'm embarrassed to be American...did you people even GO to high school, much less college?
  7. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind

    Great 1st post. I'll bet you're going to be a real asset to our community.
  8. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Well yes I did graduate from high school, and have some college credits as well, I then went on to serve our military for 22 plus years.
    I also can count. 170 years or so passed between our revolution and WWII. Nations can and do change drastically over a time period like that. French Military and political planning and execution for their well being and safety between WWI and WWII, was no concern or fault of the USA.
    Numbers with regard to Frances war effort vary greatly. There is no doubt that several things happened early in the war long before we were actively involved officially. The massive and efficient German war machine made short work of France. The numbers vary greatly on Frances actual military forces. ie; 5,000,000 soldiers/sailors/airmen before their formal surrender to Germany and Italy on 25 June 1940. Then comes part of the problem in calculations. After the surrender a collaborationist government was formed, the Vichy French State. The Bulk of the French Military was put to work side by side with the Germains.

    De Gaulle did not recognize the legitimacy of the Vichy government and went on to found the Free France (La France Libre) as the true government of France.(in exile)

    On 23 October 1944, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union officially recognized de Gaulle's regime as the provisional government of France (GPRF).

    Recruitment in liberated France led to notable enlargements of the French armies. By the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, France had 1,250,000 troops, 10 divisions of which were fighting in Germany.

    An expeditionary corps was created to liberate French Indochina then occupied by the Japanese.

    During the course of the war, Vichy France forces lost 2,653 soldiers and Free France lost 20,000.

    As a paradox of this specific military history, limited French infantry participated in the Normandy beach landings of June 1944 (Free French SAS of Major Philippe Kieffer) while the last defenders of Berlin in May 1945 were French (Vichy French SS under Hauptsturmführer Henri Fenet).

    So, from Frances Surrender in 1940 until D-day in June 1944 and beyond Frances Allied participation in the war was very limited. After the liberation of France their new army grew to 1,250,000 troops and they did participate the last year of the war in a significant manner. I recognize that the French losses shown above compared to those shown below do not agree. Fog of war I guess. Overall France as a nation IMO did not make a good showing as a military force, or as a government in WWII overall.

    <TABLE border=0 width=480><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=145 align=middle></TD><TD vAlign=top width=335 align=left>[SIZE=-1]Probably the best documented and most meaningful figures are the battle casualties. Those for the United States, Great Britain, and the Commonwealth nations are accurate; those for other nations, Allied or Axis, vary in reliability. information on Soviet losses has been given only grudgingly and in very general terms, and many records of the Axis nations were lost when those countries were overrun. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]In utilizing strength figures, it should be noted that total strength means the total number of personnel belonging to the armed forces during the entire war, whereas peak strength is the greatest strength reached at any one time during the war. Several methods of classifying and computing casualties are in use, and other variations result from the differing periods covered by the various computations. Consequently, different reputable reference works sometimes show slightly different figures even for United States casualties. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Australia 680,000 --- 23,365[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Belgium 650,000 --- 7,760[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Canada 780,000 --- 37,476[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]China 5,000,000 --- 2,200,000[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Denmark 25,000 --- 3,006[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]France 5,000,000 --- 210,671[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Greece 414,000 --- 73,700[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]India 2,150,000 --- 24,338[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Netherlands 410,000 --- 6,238[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]New Zealand 157,000 --- 10,033[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Norway 45,000 --- 1,000[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Poland 1,000,000 --- 320,000 [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]USSR 12,500,000 --- 7,500,000 [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Union of South Africa 140,000 --- 6,840[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]United Kingdom 5,120,000 --- 244,723[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]United States 12,300,000 --- 292,131[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Yugoslavia 500,000 --- 410,000[/SIZE]

    Additional info gleaned with regard to early losses in the war prior to and right up to Frances surrender.

    [edit] German

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    German Military Medic providing first aid to a wounded soldier

    Around 44,000 Germans were killed and 150,000 were wounded, giving a total of approximately 200,000 men.<SUP id=cite_ref-93 class=reference>[94]</SUP> Other sources tell of 100 000 killed. There is no definite verifiable number for this statistic. According to very recent French sources, in April 2010, 27,000 Germans were killed.<SUP id=cite_ref-L.27Histoire_94-0 class=reference>[95]</SUP>
    [edit] Allied

    The Germans had destroyed the French, Belgian, Dutch and Polish armies. They had also defeated the British. Total Allied losses, amounted to 2,292,000. Casualties were as follows:
    • France: According to the Defence Historical Service, 85,310 killed (including 5,400 Maghrebis), 12,000 missing, 120,000 wounded and 1,540,000 captured (including 67,400 Maghrebis).<SUP id=cite_ref-95 class=reference>[96]</SUP> More recent French research indicates that the number of killed had been between 55,000 and 65,000.<SUP id=cite_ref-L.27Histoire_94-1 class=reference>[95]</SUP> In August, 1940 1,540,000 prisoners were taken into Germany where roughly 940,000 remained until 1945 when they were liberated by advancing Allied forces. While in German captivity, 24,600 French prisoners died; 71,000 escaped; 220,000 were released by various agreements between the Vichy government and Germany; several hundred thousand were paroled because of disability and/or sickness.<SUP id=cite_ref-96 class=reference>[97]</SUP> Most prisoners spent their time in captivity as forced labourers.<SUP style="WHITE-SPACE: nowrap" class=Template-Fact title="This claim needs references to reliable sources from April 2009">[citation needed]</SUP>
    • Britain: 68,111 killed, wounded or captured<SUP style="WHITE-SPACE: nowrap" class=Template-Fact title="This claim needs references to reliable sources from April 2009">[citation needed]</SUP>
    • Belgium: 23,350 killed or wounded<SUP style="WHITE-SPACE: nowrap" class=Template-Fact title="This claim needs references to reliable sources from April 2009">[citation needed]</SUP>
    • The Netherlands: 9,779 killed or wounded<SUP style="WHITE-SPACE: nowrap" class=Template-Fact title="This claim needs references to reliable sources from April 2009">[citation needed]</SUP>
    • Poland: 6,092 killed, wounded or captured<SUP style="WHITE-SPACE: nowrap" class=Template-Fact title="This claim needs references to reliable sources from April 2009">[citation needed]</SUP>
    • Czechoslovakia: 1,615 losses, including 400 killed.<SUP style="WHITE-SPACE: nowrap" class=Template-Fact title="This claim needs references to reliable sources from April 2009">[citation needed]</SUP>

  9. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    French??? It's not going to be French who'll do the fighting...It will be the French Foreign Legion...no Frenchies there...wherever France is involved in wars, it's ALWAYS the Legion...
  10. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

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