Ron Paul calls US involvement in Mali ‘undeclared war’
In the latest blow to militants, the French military said Wednesday it has seized the airport in Kidal, the last major town under rebel control in northern Mali, CNN reports. If the forces secure the town, it will be the last major city in their sweep north to flush out Islamist militants in Mali, France’s former colony.France sent its troops at Mali’s request after the Islamists seized the strategic town of Konna on January 10. The town is back under Malian control. In addition, French-led troops now control Timbuktu and Gao cities, and the swath in between that was an Islamist stronghold for almost a year, the French Defense Ministry said this week.We are winning in Mali,” French President Francois Hollande said Monday. France, which is leading the offensive, has 2,150 soldiers in Mali and 1,000 more troops supporting the operation from elsewhere. The United States has also stepped up its involvement in the conflict by conducting aerial refueling missions on top of the intelligence and airlift support. The United Kingdom said it is prepared to provide 240 troops to provide military training support, but will not take part in combat. Up to 40 of those troops will be deployed to a European Union military training mission in Mali and the rest in English-speaking West African countries. The nations are teaming up to prevent the Islamists from turning the once peaceful democracy into a haven for international terrorists. Ron Paul said US assistance to the French intervention in Mali is a sign that the Obama administration is creeping into another war – especially since questions about the extent of US involvement remain largely unanswered, Russia Today informs.The recently retired congressman outlined his fears in his weekly column, “Texas Straight Talk”. Paul said that while the US has only announced its transport and intelligence assistance to the French initiative, “this is clearly developing into another war”. “Media questions as to whether the US has Special Operations forces, drones, or CIA paramilitary units active in Mali are unanswered by the Administration,” Paul said. “Congress has asked few questions and demanded few answers from the president. As usual, it was not even consulted. But where does the president get the authority to become a co-combatant in French operations in Mali, even if US troops are not yet overtly involved in the attack?”Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that US assistance in Mali is a good example of future military assistance it might provide to its allies and that the US would not bring its own troops into the conflict. The US first became involved by airlifting French soldiers and equipment to Mali with its C-17 transport planes, but gradually expanded its roles in Africa.