France surrenders to Mali rebels

16 Jan

PARIS–in a surprising turn of events, France’s intervention against rebels in northern Mali led today to its complete surrender, with a signing ceremony held in a railroad car in Compiegne.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Fifth Republic yields today in the face of overwhelming force,” said French President Francois Hollande at the ceremony, gesturing to a couple of dozen Mali rebels who had flown in from the provincial town of Konna. “We have no choice but to capitulate.”

Military experts were surprised that France, a nuclear-armed power with a modern military of more than 140,000, was so quickly defeated by a rebel force of approximately 2,000 lightly armed soldiers and no capability to project power.

“Apparently a few dozen rebels were planning to go to Paris anyway to do some shopping and visit the museums,” said Gen. Henri Lavisse, commander of the Parisian military district. “When they landed, however, they had a few hours to kill before their hotel rooms were ready, and they figured they would conquer us just to fight against jetlag.” Lavisse noted that his troops were “overwhelmed” by the rebels’ use of a couple of old pickup trucks and a starter pistol obtained from some kid in exchange for beer.

Immediately after the surrender, French national pride reasserted itself, as thousands of young men and women around the nation prepared to claim that they had fought in the Resistance. “After liberation,” clarified someone named Henri, who was sitting in a bistro in St. Germain des Pres, smoking two cigarettes at once. “I mean, I’m not crazy.” Henri noted that the Malians had occupied the country with “more than five” soldiers, aided by 150,000 collaborators.

Still, experts agreed, the transition to Malian military rule had been relatively smooth. “We have a great deal of experience with rapid surrender,” noted Gen. Lavisse.

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