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S is considering getting involved in the battle against al-Qaeda fighters trying to take over the African nation of -- and they've already made.
Some significant progress our Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the US could -- provide France.
-- logistical reconnaissance.
And air support.
In its assaults on terrorists there originally it started dramatically over the weekend and Milledge is linked to al-Qaeda control -- area have northern Mali.
Roughly the size of Texas and it's growing let's bring in.
The Africa center at the Atlantic Council and theory talked about this and oh what over the last several months it's nice -- back what that's.
Blizzard that just so now this story has changed at France is involved now in specifically going after these these terrorist -- what should our role be.
Well I think what France has done has.
And insofar as on a limited basis have been helpful has it stopped -- offensive by the islamists.
Last week which was driving south work.
The problem now though as that France is not yet deployed.
Sufficient troops to.
Retake the large area that you spoke about that the islamists control and they really don't have enough troops even to stop all the offensives that they've now stirred up.
So we now need to in the reconsider re calibrate our strategy which has been -- slowly build up an African force to deal with us.
Is that slow buildup of the African forest prepared in any way to take on these groups.
Well certainly not now and not immediately the plan was to do this over the course of a year.
Or fortunately today on your point of view.
The French action last week.
More losses forced everyone's hand it's moved up a timetable.
And the question is whether there are the resources necessary or we stirred up.
A hornet's nest without being ready for.
So what about NATO we did see friends in the past and you look back on Libya for example sort of leading the way -- a similar way forcing the hand if you LTD be more involved more involvement from the international community.
So let's go back to it to where we stand in all of this Peter -- What what should our -- really be here.
Well are several things certainly we should support -- ally France.
Where we -- -- intelligence.
With logistics as appropriate.
But we need to think about a strategy that can last -- -- the moment.
And this is the danger the front strategy they've put a few soldiers out there about 750.
They plan to make make it perhaps 2000 but that's not going to be enough.
That's -- -- look facing Peter if you love it let's say we have you know there's a couple of thousand troops there -- the ground.
And you're saying the numbers even less knack for France what kind of numbers they facing as far as it Islamic militants.
Well there facing probably.
Low thousands as far as hardcore militants but -- militants over the last few years have built up a huge war chest through kidnapping for ransom through.
Drug trafficking so they have millions which they can hire fighters there attracting fighters in.
And they've also force children into their ranks so -- ranked her fairly swollen.
And they do control a large desert terrain that they know better than outsiders.
I was listening to an inner you that interview with the former foreign minister of France and he was asked why -- -- matter.
-- -- we've we've talked about that in the past that his answers that way as we have to fight against terrorists period we must remain very firm and we did.
What it as far as the United States Peter if these are the bad guys why shouldn't we go and and and taken out.
Well I've I've no I have no quarrel with taking out especially key leaders which would then weaken the -- as a whole.
The -- the question I have is really do we have the resources ready.
To take on the task of -- occupy.
And restoring this area -- Molly.
I think that there are two separate questions stopping the terrorists which I think is in the international community's interest and rather rebuilding the Molly and state that's entirely to.
I think Amy so what what do you think is the risk -- -- this is this the final question in this what is the risk if if we don't directly confront the threat and militants in -- right now what.
I think the risk is that they will create a safe haven.
Already terrorists are gathering there covered from all over last month the FBI arrested two American citizens from Alabama who were headed.
To bear for trading so it is -- -- threat.
The problem is it's not a matter of dealing with the terrorists that the risk is being dragged into a larger conflict.
And I think we need to establish very clearly up front what are the objectives of the military action.
Sounds like a big story again to watch.
As we see in -- watch -- slowly developing in the state of mind but your point -- go -- necessarily trying to rebuild the government there.
Peter's great to have you as always we look for -- -- back.
Thank you --
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