Expert Pitch

Mali Terrain May Give Islamist Rebels Upper Hand Against French Forces

Released: 17-Jan-2013 1:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
Add to Favorites
Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

Nicolas van de Walle, professor of government at Cornell University and author of “African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis,” comments on the growing presence of Islamic extremists in northern Mali.

He says:

“The taking of dozens of hostages from a gas facility in Algeria, hundreds of miles from Mali, points to the particularly difficult security threat posed by the Islamist rebels in Northern Mali.

“The French military intervention is a success in the conventional sense that the main cities of northern Mali are soon likely to be under the control of the Malian government and French forces, but the rebels don't care. Their retreat into the vast expanses of the Sahara desert gives them tactical advantages, given their superior knowledge of this very difficult terrain, their ability to slip across foreign borders and their impressive mobility, which they demonstrated this week by striking so far from Mali. Today, France and its allies got a sense of how difficult and unconventional a war this will be.”

For interviews contact:
Syl Kacapyr
(607) 255-7701

Contact Syl Kacapyr for information about Cornell's TV and radio studios.

Promote your organization’s experts with Expert Pitch.
Reporters: follow @Expert_Pitch to receive instant updates via Twitter
Looking for a different expert? Reporters can submit an
Expert Query.