An analyst says that reports coming out of Mali are from limited ‘approved’ sources with a media blackout in place making it difficult to know what is going on.
In the background of this heavy fighting is reportedly going in northern Mali between French-led forces and local fighters. The Malian military says at least 50 fighters have been killed since Friday in fierce clashes near the town of Gao. Three French soldiers have been reported killed since the French military intervention began in Mali in January 2013. Of course, the international media can only go on these one-sided reports for now as France has implemented a complete media blackout on the war that essentially hides any negative events that the western imperial and government forces do not want the international community to find out about.
Press TV has interviewed Douglas De Groot, Executive Intelligence Review, Leesburg
about this issue. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Statistics and numbers pour in with details of the progression of this war in Mali released by the French and the Malian spokespersons and representatives of governments. But there is a complete media blackout as to what is actually taking place on the ground.
How significant a factor do you think that is in giving the French and Malian forces an open hand and a free hand to do what ever they want as far as this war goes?
De Groot: The reports that I’ve been seeing and monitoring indicate some of the fighting.
I don’t know how accurate the body count reports are – whether there is more French casualties or not I don’t know. It could be the three they’ve talked about and admitted to is the right number.
The point is that they have these basically foreign-led forces and their allies – they have an internal Tuareg element that is allied with the Saudi Arabians that is now kind of enclosed in a mountainous area near the border of Algeria in Mali. They have contained there and once in a while there are guerilla strikes out and so on, but it seems to be somewhat contained.
The fighting in there has been quite fierce and these forces – the Chad forces – have said and Algerians have picked up these reports, that a couple of the top Algerian rebels that were involved in these Saudi-led forces have been killed.
I don’t know how accurate those reports are, but given that the Chadians are under some kind of pressure because some of their own people are getting killed, internal pressure in Chad – they probably would not lie about this because if the truth came out then they would look worse, so…
It could be that they have killed a couple of these top leaders as well; although that’s not necessarily who the real leaders are because there are trained special forces types that come even from outside of Africa or parts of northern Africa.