Niger’s Appeal for Libyan Intervention; Twin Bombings in SomaliaFebruary 10, 2014 in Niger, Somalia
Despite an appeal for intervention from neighboring Niger, on Monday officials in France announced that, for the time being, they ruled out Western military action against Islamist fighters in southern Libya.
Asked about Niger’s recent call for action, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated Monday that there was no question of putting foreign troops into a region that the United States has identified as an increasingly worrisome new haven for al-Qaeda-linked militants. However the French Minister further noted that while France has ruled out Western military action, Western powers are aware of the problem and are drawing up plans in order to help the Libyan government deal with this issue.
Speaking in Paris, Mr Fabius stated “…we are going to have an international meeting in Rome at the beginning of March to give Libya more help because its true that there are terrorists gathering in the south.” Mr Fabius further indicated that officials from Britain, Germany, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and the United States were all involved in talks on aid the Libyan government, adding “we have to fight terrorism everywhere….That does not mean we have to have people on the ground, it means we have to help governments that want to get rid of terrorism, which is the case with the Libyan government.”
The response by officials in France comes after Niger last week called on the West to finish the job they had begun in Libya by dealing with those Islamist groups that have established bases in the southern region of the country since the 2011 overthrow of former dictator Moamer Kadhafi. The call by the Niger government comes shortly after an annual intelligence report, released in December 2013, which indicated that the United States had stated that southern Libya had become an “incubator” for terrorism in a “hothouse” region and described a possible intervention as “within the bounds of the possible.”
A poor, but mineral-rich former French colony, Niger has had to contend with numerous Islamist attacks and kidnappings on its own soil, some of which have threatened the security of its uranium production.