Mission Accomplie?

MALI-FRANCE-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY

Hopefully Hollande didn’t just pull a Dubya, proclaiming, “We have won this war; we have chased out the terrorists” in Mali:

France has begun withdrawing some of the 4,000 troops it deployed to Mali last winter, and plans to pull more out as a U.N. peacekeeping force increases its presence in the country. Hollande is certainly winding down his war. But is it won, as he claimed today?

The jihadi rebels in Mali seem to have disappeared as much they were defeated. Some fled into the Central African Republic, where they’re accused of committing massacres. Others have fled to Niger, Algeria, and Libya, leaving behind weapons caches buried in the Sahara. “They absolutely refuse to fight us,” a French soldier told the Wall Street Journal. Now those combat-veteran jihadists are waiting in the wings, still staging occasional attacks — like the one that occurred right after FP’s Yochi Dreazen left Mali, when a roadside bomb killed two Malian soldiers in Gao — and waiting for their moment to stage a comeback.

(Photo: President Francois Hollande of France delivers a speech during the inauguration of Mali’s new president, on September 19, 2013, at the March 26 stadium in Bamako. Leaders from across Africa and France watched the inauguration of Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in front of thousands of his supporters today as the nation entered a new era of democracy after months of political chaos. By Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)