CAR is geographically at the center of what some strategists have called an “arc of insecurity” involving Islamic militants and stretching from Kenya and Somalia in eastern Africa to Mauritania in the west. The power vacuum in CAR is paving the way for al Qaeda-linked Islamists ousted from Mali, while lawlessness in north Cameroon is opening a route to CAR for Nigeria’s Boko Haram. “We are seeing the start of an internal sectarian poison that we never had in the past coupled with an international aspect that we hadn’t seen either,” said the source. POOR RELATIONSHIP Unlike some of its other colonies in Africa, France has had a poor relationship with CAR since independence in 1960, and has been reluctant to get directly involved in the crisis, urging African nations to do their utmost to resolve it. The African Union has responded by deploying about 2,500 troops as part of its 3,600-strong MISCA mission, made up of forces from Chad, Gabon, Congo Republic and Cameroon. But its material, logistic and financial resources are limited, prompting Paris to seek a U.N. Security Council mandate that would address that and turn MISCA into a U.N. peacekeeping force ultimately supported by French troops. “It’s not obvious, because CAR doesn’t interest anybody. People hardly know where it is, and if we don’t do it then nobody will,” said another French diplomat. The immediate objective is to minimize the level of support Paris has to give by ensuring that collectively Africa, the United Nations, EU and France act together.
Giroud: France played beautiful football to thrash Australia
The Arsenal striker notched two goals within the opening 30 minutes as les Blues geared up for their final Group I World Cup qualifying game against Finland on Tuesday in style. Giroud is in fine form for club and country, with eight goals in 15 outings, but was keen to congratulate the other members of the France squad as they subjected Australia to a second consecutive six-goal loss, resulting in the dismissal of manager Holger Osieck. “The first goal, I try it sometimes and if it does not work people say it’s because I have not played well, but when it comes off, it come off,” Giroud toldL’Equipe. “The second goal was a beautiful team movement. I hope to see more of that in the future. “To assess a striker, he must perform on the big occasions. Tonight, I was provided with many chances so I could perform. To score goals, the France team needs several good strikers. We are fortunate to have two strikers who complement different tactics. I am very happy for me, but also for Karim [Benzema] who scored. It’s good for us to score, but also for les Bleus.” Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter