A French judge has said that
the planned intervention in Mali, which is supported by the French
government, could lead to terrorist attacks in France.Speaking to
Le Journal du Dimanche anti-terrorism judge Marc Trévidic
warned of how France could be perceived by some in the large Muslim
population living in France. From
Diplomatic sources have said a handful of French nationals had
travelled to the Sahel region to train for Islamic jihad, or holy
struggle. Trevidic said four investigations were open on what he
called Malian “terrorist” cells.
“They are young, often dual nationals or who have links with
sub-Saharan Africa,” he said. “They get in either through Niger or
Algeria, but many are Malians who can go and visit their families
and don’t need visas.”
France has been a vocal supporter of plans for an international
operation to try to wrest back northern Mali from Islamist
insurgents, who hold eight French hostages in the area.
In December, the U.N. Security Council authorised a
French-drafted resolution to deploy an African-led force to retrain
Mali’s defeated army and support an anti-insurgent mission,
although no ground operations are expected until later in 2013.
“All the ingredients exist so that there are repercussions on
our soil,” the judge said. “France is backing those that want to
intervene militarily in Timbuktu. So we are the enemy and are
identified as such.”
France’s large Muslim population and its history of colonization
in North Africa make the intervention in Mali particularly
sensitive. With an intervention so much culturally and
geographically closer to home than recent French operations in
Afghanistan French authorities should be especially wary of the
unintended conesequences of an internvention in Mali.
Trévidic believes that the French must begin to get used to
“We will have to accept this reality without deluding ourselves.
It means we have to accept that attacks will succeed and there will
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