French troops liberate Kidal without help of Mali soldiers
Newscast Media PARIS, France—In a surprise move that happened within the past 24 hours, French troops arrived in the northern Mali town of Kidal, driving Islamist rebels into the mountains. But the Malian general staff was not aware of the French plan, according to Radio France Internationale. French aircraft landed at Kidal’s airstrip on Tuesday, carrying French troops but no Malians. They faced no resistance, Tuareg
separatists having earlier declared that they supported the Franco-Malian offensive and thrown the Islamists out of town.
“The Malian and French forces have reversed the chain of events,” French chief of defence staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud said in Bamako on Wednesday after meeting Malian Prime Minister Diango Cissoko.
“The reestablishment of law and order in northern Mali has started. That’s good news and we will carry on.”
This was a smart move on behalf of French troops because as we’ve seen in places like Egypt, Libya and now Syria, loose lips sink ships, especially when the media gets involved. Foreign news agencies have perfected the art of propaganda, and French troops were fully aware that telegraphing their next move could work against them.
This could have caused media outlets that are sympathizers with Islamists to tip off Al Qaeda rebels, creating an ambush situation. The French decided to undertake this mission incognito for the sake of their safety.
In his book The Art of War, Sun Tzu said: “O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.” page 32.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” page 39.
According Radio France Internationale, Mali’s military chiefs were not aware that the French were planning to enter Kidal, sources close to the general staff say and the presidency and communications ministry also said that they had not been in the loop.