Shabaab kills, captures French soldiers during failed rescue mission in Somalia


Denis_Allex.jpg

Denis Allex, from one of two Shabaab propaganda tapes.

Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, killed one French commando and captured another during a failed French attempt to rescue Denis Allex, an intelligence operative who has been in the terror group's custody since 2009.

Allex and Marc Aubriere, two DGSE agents, were captured in July 2009 at a hotel in Mogadishu. Both men were posing as journalists and trainers for the Somali military. Aubriere escaped under mysterious circumstances and it is rumored the French government paid a ransom for his release.

Today the French Defense Ministry confirmed that one of its soldiers was killed and another was captured, and that 17 Shabaab fighters were killed during the early morning raid, France24 reported. French officials said they now believe that Allex is dead, but would not provide further details of the raid. The raid was carried out by the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), the Defense Ministry's external intelligence and paramilitary force.

Shabaab denied reports that Allex was killed in the raid, in an official statement released on its Twitter site, @HSMPress (Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Press Office). The statement also provided additional details on the raid and confirmed that Shabaab captured a French soldier.

"At around 0200 hours Saturday morning five French helicopters attacked a location in the town of Bula-Marer, around 30 km South of Marka in the Islamic Administration of Lower Shabeelle, in a botched rescue attempt aimed at releasing the French hostage Dennis Allex," Shabaab said.

Shabaab said the fighting "lasted for about 45 minutes" and that their forces "managed to repel the French forces," killing several and capturing one after he was wounded. Shabaab denied that Allex was at the house where the raid took place, and said the French forces targeted the wrong location in what it described as "a fatal intelligence blunder."

"Several French soldiers were killed in the battle and many more were injured before they fled from the scene of battle, leaving behind some military paraphernalia and even one of their comrades on the ground," the statement continued. "The injured French soldier is now in the custody of the Mujahideen and Allex still remains safe and far from the location of the battle."

Shabaab said it has warned the French in the past not to attempt to rescue Allex, and then issued an ominous statement that indicated the group may execute him.

"As a response to this botched rescue operation by the French forces, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen assures the French people that it will give its final verdict regarding the fate of Dennis Allex within two days," the statement concluded.

Rescue attempt coincides with French intervention in Mali

France's failed rescue mission in Somalia took place just one day after President François Hollande announced that the military would intervene in Mali as three al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups are advancing southward. French forces launched an airstrike in central Mali yesterday, and European soldiers were seen disembarking from an airplane in Sevare, near the city of Mopti. French citizens have been advised to leave Mali.

The rescue mission in Somalia was attempted as France feared Shabaab would execute Allex due to the French intervention in Mali.



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READER COMMENTS: "Shabaab kills, captures French soldiers during failed rescue mission in Somalia"

Posted by steve m at January 12, 2013 12:03 PM ET:

Wow, that is pretty embarrassing for the French and definitely does not help their reputation.

Posted by Hibeam at January 12, 2013 12:12 PM ET:

Fail team Six.

Posted by mike merlo at January 12, 2013 1:54 PM ET:

'this' is what happens when one takes ones opponent for granted. Many Europeans in decision making positions still continue to view the world through the prism past colonial experiences & related actions.
European arrogance is a 'facet' the US should always be wary of

Posted by Aquila at January 12, 2013 3:31 PM ET:

It's certainly embarrassing, but it is not very like the "French as cowards" stereotype that we make jokes about...

Posted by Anthony Bresina at January 12, 2013 5:12 PM ET:

Except for the fact that they left one of their own behind...

Posted by m3fd2002 at January 12, 2013 5:52 PM ET:

Disagree totally with the sentiment of the posters. Look, you have to show the kidnappers that they have no where to hide, and will not be rewarded for their actions.Hunt them down and kill their seed. The French will do this. Losing a few commandos, probably foreign legion, is insignificant. Those troops live for that opportunity to see action. They were the ones who turned Libya, not the US. The current administration gets credit for stuff that they have nothing to do with. They are the poster child of personification of plausible deny ability. I call it like I see it.

Posted by Lee Jay Walker at January 12, 2013 6:00 PM ET:

Comments about France and Europe are rather tame, after all, look what happened to US forces when they entered Somalia. Also, Afghanistan and Iraq are still a nightmare and we all know what happened in Libya last year. Sadly, sometimes it goes wrong and recent setbacks by this Islamist terrorist group meant that the situation is more chaotic than usual. Meanwhile, in Mali it is France which is responding to the crisis.

Posted by steve m at January 12, 2013 6:17 PM ET:

Leaving falling comrades behind is pretty cowardly, as I make this statement from the safety of my couch.

Posted by Neo at January 12, 2013 7:04 PM ET:

Get serious guys. Some of these comments are way out of line. This isn’t a game, and nobody really cares about hurling a bunch of immature insults at the French. A lot can go wrong with a helicopter raid before you even get there. To have a good chance of success you need good intelligence, timing, and more than a little luck. The guys doing this are hardly amateurs, so cut the B.S.

Posted by GF at January 12, 2013 8:13 PM ET:

"Heres For Trying"

Posted by Tom at January 12, 2013 8:29 PM ET:

Now lets see:
The French managed to kill 17 terrorist, loosing one soldier and "maybe" one DGSE Agent, however this was one very difficult operation being executed.
I followed it from other news media and it seemed complex and the insertion was though.
Also whenever one of the radicals hear gunfire/helicopters the risk is high that they execute the hostage, you also need luck.
And the statements of the Shabaab, cant be accountable as truth either.

Also a reply to the comment of "Mike merlo"
Quoting the countries of Europe as a ONE country is a typical "uneducated statement" and an common American misunderstanding.
All countries in Europe have their own languages, cultures, soil and its owv history, and they VERY allot. By Thinking that Europe is one country like America is just utterly wrong. I wonder what part of the world who is ignorant? The many countries of Europe or the US starting the wars?



Posted by Bill Roggio at January 12, 2013 9:02 PM ET:

Well Tom, the French seem to have started their own little war in their former colony, Mali. Just sayin'.

Posted by mac at January 12, 2013 10:56 PM ET:

Seventeen Shababi's down. God bless the French.

Posted by gb at January 13, 2013 1:23 AM ET:

It doesn't matter who the troops are anyone who's been through the grind respects others that have done the same

Posted by D Chan at January 13, 2013 1:35 AM ET:

The French tactology is wrong. Brute force, firepower and special forces alone cannot resolve and end a conflict like that of a hostage situation in a foreign country. They should have put more understanding in the strategy and that strategy is poise and precision rather than power and presumption.

Posted by Deoleh at January 13, 2013 1:38 AM ET:

The fighting between the religious, the bigots, the power hungry will continue as long as humans exist. The key to all of this is the inner compassion that every human should feel for other humans and all inhabitants of our planet. Alas, this compassion is missing in most. Every side of a fight has its reasons for the fight. If everybody did a random act of kindness to a fellow human everyday, we would start to develop the compassion needed

Posted by Dave at January 13, 2013 2:14 AM ET:

I doubt this story will ever be told, beginning with the intelligence that led France to believe they knew Allex's position, the Shabaab forces and their dispositions, and the French strategy ... unlike US secrets, all of which get blabbed in 5 seconds, resulting in our sources rotting for life in Pakistani jails.

Clearly France felt that their action in Mali was a threat to Allex and that they had to act.

Speaking of which, France intervened in Mali to protect their 6,000 citizens in the former colony, but the enemy there is very much part of the global threat of militant Islam. I certainly hope the French are successful in stopping the Mali Salifist tide.

Posted by Mr. Nobody at January 13, 2013 2:23 AM ET:

I wonder what intelligence they were acting on. Seems like they either hit the wrong house or were led to a trap.

Posted by blert at January 13, 2013 3:07 AM ET:

If I'm getting this straight, the French let their man twist in the wind -- for years -- and only recently decided to make a rescue attempt.

Further, the French President is linking the timing to his own decision to engage in reactive military kinetics in Mali; which is one heck of a long way to the west. (1,000+ km)

All of which points the finger straight towards political judgments made at the top.

Unlike America, France has a major, major domestic Muslim 'problem' -- as has been documented going back fifty-years. (The Algerian War)

Stuff like having 'pray-ins' of maximum inconvenience all around Paris on Fridays.

And, the Eiffel Tower was the original islamist suicide jihadi aircraft target -- in 1994.

(Which then makes 9-11 a gaff of epic proportions.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_8969

Their GIGN is akin to Delta Force. It's a sign of the times that at its start, the GIGN was headed by a Lieutenant. (1973) By now it's headed by a Brigadier General. (!)

All of which is to say that Paris regards all Muslim matters to be a hot potato -- red hot. Paris never wants to 'work point' -- ever hoping to get DC or London to take the lead position.

It's a most curious thing, this Somalia fiasco.

As regular readers would know, America operates at least some drones from Djiouti.

Before 1967 it was known as French Somalia.

The rest of Somalia was split between the British and the Italians back then.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Somaliland

(I know that the map is sloppy on the details: Ethiopia never took control of the coastal strip now recognized as part of Somalia, today.)

Which means that Paris has sat on their hands for years while their man was in enemy hands -- perhaps just down the road.

One must conclude that the islamists really know how to keep a prisoner on ice. Hence, the extreme resistance the rescue operation ran into.

A suspicious man might conclude that the French rescue attempt was compromised by agents in their midst all the way back in Djibouti. America experienced the same troubles during the Black Hawk Down fiasco.

Posted by A.A.Xade at January 13, 2013 6:12 AM ET:


From Somali Nationalist: There is one side of the report that will never be told by the Westren Media as usual. And that is, what Crime has been done in their mane out there.

For example, the so called fat French Commando kill all one Nomadic Somali familly of old man his Wife and 2 year old bay on their way to Town, and that is a War Crime indeed.

But according to our information, French kill 5 Shabab fighters and they lost same number + two unlucky men they left behind.

Above all, this is not Mali or Libya but, it is Somalia and expect allways unexpected.


Posted by Matt at January 13, 2013 6:50 AM ET:

I would rather die in a failed hostage attempt, then have the head cut off, at least you know someone cares. Eagle Claw, it happens, Bin Laden could have been Desert One. At the end of the day ZDT they are just men.

Posted by Rutger at January 13, 2013 9:50 AM ET:

Come on guys, be careful with the criticism. There's no reliable information in there at all. We have no idea what actually happened, what the target site looked like or whether or not the French truly screwed up.

If they didn't go for a covert parachute insertion, then that means the target was probably in dense urban terrain.

A helicopter-borne assault on an urban target is devilishly difficult to pull of succesfully. The French might have done everything right and still failed, because of bad luck.

Hostage rescues have gone wrong in A'stan and Iraq too. With these kinds of missions there is just no guarantee of success, ever. Too many variables that cannot be controlled.

Posted by Tom at January 13, 2013 9:58 AM ET:

Bill

It may be so, but not even in one of a million of the instigation of the Americans, invading Iraq on false ground on failed and flawed intelligence leading to 100.000+ civilians dead and leaving it in a semi failed state. And also leaving lots of American soldiers dead, in pain and with PTSD at a enormous cost of american dollars and debt - money borrowed from communist china.
The US should be credited though for removing the bloody dictator Saddam and shielding the Kurds as a consequence.

I'm not against Americans at all - I´m not French either. But bluntly saying that Europe has one ideology and referring to (old) colonization (which America did (slavery)/does in (Afghanistan, (did/does in Iraq, and ) in real time is double standards. Putting foreign US soldier on South-Korean, Japanese, Filipino, (German), soil and so on Is a form of that.

Also the predator war who I do hail when killing Taliban, is a double edged sword. What would the US think if Mexico droned your country blaming technical errors an necessity, citing killing the right people?.
You wouldn't accept it now would you? As in Pakistan, who is indeed in on is way to failed state. Its really a complex problem i know.
The Drone war may also feed the influx of terrorists i hope not the future will tell.

Europe built America not the other way around. Europeans were not automatically Americans the same day they put their feet on Native American soil.
Europe has a much longer more complex, colorful history and lots of more and wider Democratic experience (whom the US built is constriction on) and a wide cultural understanding.
"Europeans" can speak English and the Americans cant speak any of our languages (except American-British), we learn more languages at school at at early age (not just spanish, english, french) which is mandatory and we do learn alot more about the world, instead of Shakespeare and name of the States! ""Europeans" do know much more about the world and its cultures, and its geography then the US that´s a fact! I have been in the US many times its a great Nation and a great people and i Do like Americans, The US is sometimes modern and ahead, sometimes far behind Europe in what really matters. But it was not built on just hard labor. Its was also built on wars, purges and coups in other countries, failing democratically choosen states and installing dictatorship nourishing the US.
America is far behind on democracy question as abortions, "don ask don't tell", (who was purged in most European countries long time ago), social HealthCare and with the inhumane death penalty.
I rarly se homeless people in my country and i live in very a big city, gun violence is VERY low compared to the US, as same as the murder rate and car accidents, and far ahead in environmental issues and climate controll.
Im not telling you as a person but the whole population of the US not to hit its chest when lacking knlowledge. Having a space program dosent mean that the people have good healthcare and social stability and a home to live in
(no i´m no socialist either - just realist) i seen what works and not.

Anyway focusing on this its a great Site and your job Bill and colleges?! Is just amazing hard work and a deep insight to the dark world of modern terrorism. Maybe the best homepage of the internet in this area. Lets now not put fingers at each other and ill shut up. And instead join forces against this dark powers trying to poise us with extremism.

I do hope you publish my text as in a true democracy ;) /Tom "Europe"

Posted by Andrew at January 13, 2013 10:20 AM ET:

The Western protocol for terrorists is if they murder a hostage, or the hostage dies in their custody for any reason, the terrorist leadership becomes a PRIMARY target. This could be a reason Shabaab is denying the death of hostage Denis Allex; they initially fear the retaliation.

Posted by Hibeam at January 13, 2013 10:54 AM ET:

Wherever there are gaping holes in the drone network we will have these outbreaks of wild eyed bearded lunatics. More drones. More stability.

Posted by Will Fenwick at January 13, 2013 12:13 PM ET:

The French intervene militarily just about as frequently or if not more frequently than the United States. Despite the fact that they gave virtually all of their African colonies independence, they still regularly intervene in most of them, often deposing leaders they don't like or aiding ones they do like that are in trouble. They truly still are a great power in the world, and their sphere of influence in North and Central Africa is large and strong.

Posted by jayc at January 13, 2013 1:36 PM ET:

I have a newfound respect for the Gauls. Viva la France!

Posted by sundoesntrise at January 13, 2013 2:35 PM ET:

Despite what bravado and hubris the American media uses to portray these 'Seal TEAM SIX' type guys, and any other commando-oriented forces for that matter, the reality is is that these missions are very difficult to execute and there's always the lingering possibility that the mission is doomed to be a failure before the helicopter even lifts off the ground.

That being said, I believe it's not right to use terms such as "Fail Team Six" to describe a group of men trying to rescue a hostage from a group of savages. It's easy to sit here on our computers and tease the soldiers when they are in hostile terrain, harsh conditions, and life or death situations.

It seems the Internet has now become a conduit for keyboard warriors to flex their muscles virtually meanwhile the real men are doing the real jobs in the real world. Just sayin'.

Posted by Evan at January 13, 2013 4:05 PM ET:

So many variables in this equation and it's absolutely true that the French could have done most everything right, and still come up short, there's always that factor of luck.

They should be commended for their bravery. Intervening in Mali is the right thing to do, and the US really should have a better grasp of the danger that another jihadist/islamic extremist/al Qaeda safe haven from which to plan and execute attacks poses to it and it's interests, not to mention Europe.

Posted by Evan at January 13, 2013 4:28 PM ET:

Extremists from all over the Muslim world have flocked to northern Mali since the coup and Tuareg rebellion.

These guys have sophisticated gear, weapons, communications, etc. They have vehicles, not just technicals mounted with anti aircraft guns, but armored cars, APC's, probably some captured tanks, and they have lots of captured/stolen heavy equipment like earth movers and such.

More importantly, they've had time, and lots of it to fortify their positions, to dig in and to dig deep where not even air strikes or artillery can dislodge them.

As far as retaking the population centers go, the Malian army has a very serious and tough task ahead of them. If it comes down to urban warfare, house to house,block to block, against a fanatical and well fortified enemy, not even French air power will be able to win that one for them. Sooner or later, no matter what, the Malian armed forces are going to have to stand up and fight to take back their country.
The Western world should be doing everything in it's considerable collective resources to help them accomplish this task, short of putting combat troops on the ground. That needs to be done by the Malian military.

Posted by Tom at January 13, 2013 5:12 PM ET:

New documentary about the drone wars from BBC! A must watch! :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYQru6IYNIQ

Posted by sundoesntrise at January 13, 2013 5:54 PM ET:

Will,

"They truly still are a great power in the world, and their sphere of influence in North and Central Africa is large and strong."

Yes, you are technically right, but the only reason the West as a whole is still militarily dominant over the world is because of the fact that no capable military force is willing to exert their own counter-influence against the West.

France has not attacked a militarily capable foe on a national level for quite a long, long time.

Posted by Dave at January 13, 2013 11:35 PM ET:

The thoughtful commenters in the blog far outnumber the trolls and, I'm pretty sure, include quite a few who have formed their opinions on the firing lines themselves.

I welcome the South Asian and European visitors who share their views ... although I would respond to each of them that, however imperfect America may be, their countries are always the benefactors of American blood and treasure.

And Bill, this dialogue is a credit to you. Keep up the good work.

Posted by SlayerMill at January 14, 2013 1:27 AM ET:

The people who make broad generalizations about European military tactics are likely people who've never served in the military, more importantly, the Infantry. Especially with a majority of the details of this mission being divulged by Shabaab fighters, I'd be extremely cautious when criticizing the French or anyone for that matter in regards to how they conduct their operations. These Jihadist fighters lie at the cyclic rate in order to further peddle their jihadist agenda. I understand this first-hand as I was a Marine who fought in Operation Vigilant Resolve in Fallujah in 2004, and again deployed to Ramadi in 2005. During Vigilant Resolve we raided a Mosque because Insurgents were using it to store weapons, fighters, and sniper positions as well. We eventually got cleared by our Command to clear the Mosque of all Insurgents but when we did there was only one man in the Mosque, who was a grounds keeper of some sort. He told us the insurgents had left hours before we arrived. Later we saw videos put together by the Insurgents showing women and children bloodied and bandaged, whom they claimed had been harmed during our raid on the Mosque. They claimed we killed 17 civilians and injured many more. I was the fourth man in the Mosque so I know for a fact that not only was no one killed or harmed, but I know only one man was even in that Mosque when we arrived. My Platoon Commander and myself secured the man and had an interpreter question him which is how I know he was the only one there. I again saw the results of false jihadist propaganda during my Ramadi deployment in 2005. A truck bomb rammed into the Alaska barriers outside an observation post manned by one of our brother Companies a few blocks from where I was. The explosion was so massive that it not only sent huge chunks of solid concrete and rebar through the manned observation post; but it knocked loose boards down which were resting against a wall in the building I was in several blocks away. The observation post had to be abandoned shortly afterward due to to the extensive damage to the building, but only minor injuries were sustained from the blast. I believe the worst was a consussion. Later I read a public Insurgent statement claiming that over a dozen Marines were killed. Again, this was another pathetic lie by jihadists used to inspire more misguided men to sacrifice themselves for what they're told is for "Islam". I use the word "misguided" very deliberately as many of the men who allow themselves to be expended as Salafist cannon fodder, are often times quite affluent and academically intelligent. While some may believe I'm using anecdotal evidence to sum up jihadists, in reality, I'm just using examples from my first-hand experiences to help people understand they shouldn't take jihadist word as the gospel. Bottom line is that anyone who has conducted combat operations of any kind, knows there's only one certainty of any operation; the certainty it'll likely fall apart the moment it starts.

Posted by Somali boy at January 14, 2013 1:37 AM ET:

I know what happened


this is france's first ground mission it excutes in somalia,in al-shabab controlled area..

What happened is just vivid..USA intelligence is part of variable factors that caused the failure...do u know what i mean?....let ur brain think!

Posted by Andrew C at January 14, 2013 3:44 AM ET:

For everyone insinuating that the French are cowards, the French have militarily intervened in the Ivory Coast, Libya and Mali just in the past two years. I'd say they have the most hawkish foreign policy among Western European countries right now.

Posted by blert at January 14, 2013 3:48 AM ET:

The original post was WRT Somalia...

Yet, the comments are rather consistently conflating that with French intervention in Mali -- over 2,000 km away -- !

Tom, the BBC has long established its bona fides as being an islamist agitprop outlet. MI-6 has even busted AQ moles within it.

This means that it's impossible to know whether the BBC 'documentary' is anything beyond agitprop. Within Pakistan, ISI has run countless 'media operations' -- up to and including the assassination of wayward truth-tellers who weren't following the ISI's official line.

When it was reported that the ISI supported AQ's attack on Pakistan's naval base -- losing expensive aircraft -- the offending reporter was liquidated promptly.

In and around Israel, islamists have been caught gaming the international press -- time and again. Rather famously, photoshopped bombs 'fell' on Lebanon.

As for Iran: she keeps uploading American DoD videos as being her own weapons.

Posted by Barry Larking at January 14, 2013 8:12 AM ET:

sundoesnotrise: "France has not etc., etc."

Neither has Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia or, following Vietnam, the U.S. I can assure you the French are ruthless and but very forthcoming. We may not learn much about the follow up to these events but never make the mistake of dealing in stereotypes borrowed chiefly from fiction. Follow up there will be.

By-the-way, chaps, aren't we all supposed to be on the same side? A bit of solidarity would go down well.

Posted by jski552002 at January 14, 2013 9:50 AM ET:

Tom,
That doc is interesting. While some of it may indeed be true, its necessitated by the Pakistan governments refusal to take out the Talibs in N Waziristan. Signature strikes don't appear to happen very often. They wouldn't happen at all if Pakistan would take care of the problem but they are complicit. The most telling part of this doc is the end. The great Imran was stopped before he even entered Waziristan due to the militants threats. So peaceful it would be without these terrible drones...

Posted by Hibeam at January 14, 2013 10:26 AM ET:

If you attack your enemies civilian population you will loose the war. Just ask the Japanese. They won WWII you know.

Posted by Paul at January 14, 2013 12:21 PM ET:

more info on http://www.marianne.net/blogsecretdefense/Somalie-l-echec-de-Bullo-Mareer_a915.html

Steve, Mike and others, be carefull it's in French, you could be contaminated.

Posted by Triplenickel at January 14, 2013 2:45 PM ET:

It would be very foolish for Shabaab to execute their hostage. They've already taken a couple of French lives which makes the statement they want already.

Murdering their hostage actually leaves them in less of a bargaining position than before the raid if they do that. It also makes all the effort of getting their hostage a total waste of time?

Posted by J M Peterson at January 14, 2013 5:29 PM ET:

The French had the 'guts to try.' Those brave troops should be commended for their gallant attempt to rescue one of their countrymen. Unless someone has served in the special operations or intelligence communities, and has experienced the risk first hand, then it would be prudent to hole off on any criticism. Further, since not enough facts are known about this operation, there is really no way that anyone can render an accurate judgment about this operation. If any of you can recall the bravery of the GIGN when they retook an airliner from it's captors years ago, then you know that they are quite capable. That operation was not without sacrifice either. The French once again showed their 'daring-do', so they are to be commended for having the guts to try.

Posted by jean at January 14, 2013 7:00 PM ET:

Let’s not forget the contributions and personal sacrifice made by our NATO allies In Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Estonian ETT killed in defending his position at a remote COPin Kunar- he died in place, facing the enemy. British, Canadians, & French make up of 80% of causalitys sustained by the Non US forces. Uruzgan- Dutch Parachute Battalions cleared that AO and fought the TAB/AQ to a stand still, Operation Medusa 2006; Kandahar AO- 2006- Canadians repelled a cross board invasion. The French had the second largest troop concentration in country, 2008-9, Good dudes and not much tolerance for Afghan BS. Tough break for the French Commando, we also have a POW sitting in the tribal areas somewhere. God Bless them both.

Posted by mike merlo at January 14, 2013 11:29 PM ET:

@Tom
in the future please don't insult my intelligence or your lack thereof. I would also very much appreciate it if you would refrain from wasting my time during the NFL Playoffs.

Whats uneducated is your's & many others failure to appreciate that were it not for American largess & presence of America in Europe Europeans would have fallen prey to their infantile "Continentialism." Because of the Europeans failure to responsibly settle their own differences America got sucked into 2 World Wars in Europe. Add to this the surfacing, courtesy of elements of the European intelligentsia, of a misanthropic ideology masquerading under the nom de guerre of Communism that America with or little or no assistance from Europeans protected them from. In case you haven't noticed Europe is now a Federation. Try & keep up.

I was born in Berlin Germany in 1955. My mother hails from Konigsberg East Prussia. One her grandfathers came from Siberia. My mother had a cousin who was the next in Command after of the Gauleiter of Prussia. I had many relatives that served in the Germany & Italian Military during WWII. I had a German cousin who served in the Soviet Navy in the 50's & the 60's as a submarine commander. My father served in the US Military for 25 years. Both of his parents came from Sicily. I have lived off & on in Europe many times & have also lived in many other parts of the world. Recently I lived in Singapore from the Spring of 2007 to the Fall of 2010 & traveled extensively in Malaysia & Indonesia & spent many weeks in Thailand, Vietnam & the Philippines. Neither you nor anybody else is qualified to question my "bona fides." Neither are you or anybody else qualified to discount or judge my views, challenge yes, offering up an alternative yes but discounting no. Not even any of the bloviating full of himself blowhard's like Kissinger or any number of the since spawned Rhodes/Milner "Kindergatertners" & their accompanying 'organizations' are of the ilk to either discount or dismiss a view or position I've 'staked out.'

Your delusional view of Europe's place in the world is laughable at best. Since the
aftermath of WWII Europe has been nothing more than a junior partner. More often than
not the Europeans 'preen' about on the 'sidelines' convinced of an antiquated legitimacy
that in reality is a hollow force unless backed by American prowess & might. Many of the
so-called wars you speak of are a direct result of European intransigence & false pride. In
other words the Europeans inability to come to terms with their own failings & their desire
to project a presence that long ago out lived its usefulness & their capacity to "back 'it'
up."

The biggest mistake America made was allowing its projection into International Affairs
following the close of WWII to be Eurocentric in outlook & become intertwined with
European priorities & prejudice's. The Machiavellian schemes so often indulged in by the
Europeans is obviously a socio-cultural deficiency that to this very day still holds sway
over their ability to think, behave & respond rationally. The example of the Mali
intervention is proving to be a "case in point." The Islamist's arrayed against the French
are not the same protagonist's they & the British so casually engaged with when
unilaterally intervening in earlier post colonial African forays.

If anybody misunderstands or has misdiagnosed Europe it is individuals such as yourself
who continue to persuade themselves that the Europe of today is somehow a force to be
reckoned with or feared. If there is a lesson to be learned by the Europeans they would
best be served by revisiting their own history when confronted by the Muslim's
(Battle of Tours 732AD, Battle of Lepanto 1571AD, Battle of Vienna 1683AD for starters)
& the fortuitous circumstances that saved them from the Mongols. Europeans are
welcome to view themselves as a "people apart" in respect to language & culture but the
fact of the matter remains that on a Macro level they are a Union/Federation whose
shared destiny & fate is as intimately bound as any 2 villages from the same country.

Your view of America in relation to Europe is not only an anachronism but reveals a
psychological dysfunction that has come to dominate European views & their place in
the Global Community. Which is their inner struggle with LSE - Low Self Esteem - & the
lengths in which they go to justify themselves by singling out the Nation that saved them
from themselves & external threat(s) to their well being & existence with criticisms
based on juvenile notions & their exaggerated sense of self.


Posted by Paul at January 15, 2013 1:50 AM ET:

@mike merlo
"European arrogance is a 'facet' the US should always be wary of"

European arrogance?
Firstly, it's not "European", it's French. Europe is not a country.
Secondly, if someone is arrogant it's certainly the Unitedstatians. Remind me who was all proud of having switfly eradicated the "terrorist" menace in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to remain in these countries a decade more than they had expected because these "towelheads" were actually more resistant than expected.

The French operate continually on the African continent and have acted against two hostage crises in Somalia since 2008. Tell me where is the "colonial experience" here.

Clearly you're talking nonsense. Why do you even assert your uneducated comments?

Posted by jpm at January 15, 2013 4:13 AM ET:

I'm quiet surprised by some bad comments about the french special operation. It
's not respecteful for the fallen. Everybody here knows how easy it is to criticize after! If I were you I would do this, I could do that... especially when you were not a part of it. There is a big difference between the brave guys on the field and some cowards politician. Do not please even think the French soldiers are not willing to fight!
As a french SF Officer let me first thank America for both support in Somalia and Mali.
Mess with the best, die like the rest...

Posted by mike merlo at January 15, 2013 4:38 PM ET:

@Paul
you've obviously have never heard of NATO or the EU. Try & keep up.
Last I checked both bin Laden & Saddam Hussein are dead. Both Iraq & Afghanistan are currently being governed by Democratically elected representatives.

"Tell me where is the "colonial experience" here." You also obviously know little of French history.
Feel free to google the Voulet-Chanoine Mission. Hopefully the French will rediscover their ugly side if they already haven't based on their experience(s) in Afghanistan

"Firstly, it's not "European," to date both England & Germany are on record of supporting the French Expeditionary Force & participating in a limited capacity. Of course America is there, as always, lending a helping (holding?) hand to a French Force incapable of fully satisfying the 'needs' such an endeavor requires.

Posted by sundoesntrise at January 16, 2013 4:25 AM ET:

"We may not learn much about the follow up to these events but never make the mistake of dealing in stereotypes borrowed chiefly from fiction. Follow up there will be."

I never did. I was just making a point.

Mike, I can respect if you are an experienced person. I really can. But in the process of saying how nobody can discount your views, you tend to look quite arrogant while saying that. And it does not appear that you would believe that you are incapable of discounting their views, otherwise you would not be typing to them in such a direct, almost knee-jerk manner. People are allowed to criticize America just as much as you are allowed to go off on quite long venom-filled rants about Europe.

Posted by Charu at January 16, 2013 7:55 PM ET:

@Mike Merlo, thanks. I learned something new after looking up the Voulet-Chanoine Mission. Heart of darkness indeed!

However, let's keep the focus on the enemy, which is AQ, Shabaab, Taliban and the ISI, and not impugn the forces fighting them. The French soldier who was captured and killed in Somalia, the Indian soldier who was beheaded in Kashmir, Major Larry Bauguess who was ambushed at Teri Mangal, and many others who lost their lives to this long war, deserve to be honored. They were professional soldiers who died in the hands of a ruthless and cowardly enemy.

Posted by mike merlo at January 16, 2013 11:05 PM ET:

It has 'nothing' to do arrogance or 'knee jerk.' Its simply speaking fact to fiction. My 'experience' is immaterial what does matter is one's veracity. Nobody is qualified to 'discount' my view. "

"Neither are you or anybody else qualified to discount or judge my views, challenge yes, offering up an alternative yes but discounting no. Not even any of the bloviating full of himself blowhard's like Kissinger or any number of the since spawned Rhodes/Milner "Kindergatertners" & their accompanying 'organizations' are of the ilk to either discount or dismiss a view or position I've staked out."

If that offends you I can't help that. That's not my problem. If I didn't think I didn't have anything of substance to add to a conversation or discourse then I'll simply demur & 'follow' with interest if the subject warrants that.

There is nothing venomous about what I said about Europe & Europeans. That is a fact & has been since the founding of the US.

Posted by sundoesntrise at January 17, 2013 1:38 PM ET:

This is getting kind of childish now. I didn't want to start an argument with you Mike, and your last post only proves that you are getting quite edgy with every post you make. I know you are trying to portray yourself as an experienced intellectual on this site but it hurts your image when you go off on long rants about how your experiences are "immaterial" and how nobody can "discount your view". And how is Kissinger a "blowhard"? Kissinger is more important than you, and me, and everyone else here. Not trying to be offensive but it almost seems like you are using this thread as a way of spouting your important credentials everywhere.

And it is a knee-jerk reaction considering you replied to a guy who was criticizing the U.S., in turn criticizing Europe. And then you say you have all the "facts". Not trying to get on your case Mike, just making sure in your process of trying to be an intellectual you don't fall off the wagon (like most people do on the Internet), and start using emotion and slander in place of hard facts and reason.

Posted by mike merlo at January 17, 2013 8:55 PM ET:

@Charu
While the ISI as an entity certainly merits suspicion it should be noted that they were not responsible for the Taliban's emergence. Nor did they have much of a role in events immediately & soon after the Taliban's emergence. Whats really ironic is one could easily make a case that Benazir Bhutto is the "God Mother of The Taliban."

Without a doubt it is of primary importance to keep focus & concentration on ones adversary it is also as equally if not more important to monitor ones' own.

Not long ago I posted a comment, accompanying the appropriate TLWJ 'insight,' that indicated in my estimation a shifting of Pakistani intentions from its schemes & problems along the Durand Line to Kashmir. I guess no one was paying attention.
I also tagged another a not so long ago TLWJ 'insight' that was 'discussing' early French withdrawal from the AfPak theater. Unlike some of the other desultory posts singling out French reticence I stipulated that this French withdrawal was part of a wider strategy in preparation for intervention in Mali. I guess no one was paying attention that time either.

I'm not sure if I would characterize the enemy as cowardly though they certainly employ a variety of tactics in the minds of many that would qualify them as such. Without a doubt 'they' are beyond ruthless.

Posted by mike merlo at January 17, 2013 11:29 PM ET:

@sundoesntrise
whats knee jerk is your latest post. Kissinger is nonsense. His claim to fame is selling whoever he can down the river. Ask the Vietnamese how they feel about him.

"...spouting your important credentials everywhere." Those aren't credentials jr. Its called life experience.

I fail to see where I'm attempting to come off as an intellectual by citing facts. Look up the definition of intellectual.

"And it is a knee-jerk reaction considering you replied to a guy who was criticizing the U.S., in turn criticizing Europe." Huh? What are you talking about? Try & keep up.

Next time before engaging in one of your "setting the record straight" moments try following 'the thread.' 3rd from the top in the comments section.

"...like you are using this thread..." take your own advice. Flutter on butterfly