News / Africa

Acting Alone in Mali Has its Rewards and Limits

Acting Alone in Mali Has its Rewards and Limitsi
X
February 06, 2013 6:21 PM
When French troops moved into Mali last month, they deployed alone, without NATO or African allies, even though they were fighting a militant group linked to al-Qaida. VOA’s Al Pessin reports on why the French have still received only limited help from other countries, and what lies ahead for the Mali operation.
Al Pessin
When French troops moved into Mali last month, they deployed alone, without NATO or African allies, even though they were fighting a militant group linked to al-Qaida. 

French President Francois Hollande received a hero’s welcome in Mali last week. Malians lined up to thank him for sending troops to end a growing insurgency by Islamist militants.

Even though the operation is part of the global effort to fight terrorist groups, the French troops worked alone and received only transport, intelligence and logistics support from allies.

Retired British Brigadier General Ben Barry, now at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, says that's partly because France didn’t need combat help.

“Politically, there’s no hint that the French want to slap either a NATO or a European Union badge on their current intervention," he said.

France also went ahead in spite of the “conflict fatigue” many European countries are experiencing after years of  deployment in Afghanistan. 

“What’s actually causing this is national interest in a way that’s more compelling than Afghanistan was," said Kathleen McInnis, a London-based adjunct fellow of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The French brought lots of high-tech equipment to Mali, but McInnis says the operation revealed shortcomings.  Up to a point, it’s part of a strategy of shared European capabilities, but she says Europe still does not have enough even for a modest operation like this one.

"The number of requirements are going gone up.  The capabilities have gone down.  And these are capabilities that the Europeans have been told that they need to invest in for some time," said McInnis.

Indeed, the French needed transport planes and other help from the United States and Canada.  And McInnis says the pattern could be repeated if militants rise in other parts of North or West Africa.

“Because Africa is very much in France’s interest to remain engage in, and it’s Europe’s backyard, I see France leading the way again and again," she said.”

The French military is already planning for its exit from Mali, as the Malian army takes on some responsibility and West African troops deploy to help.  But Ben Barry says the commitment to Mali cannot end when the French military operation does.

“It’s security.  It’s development.  It’s politics.  It’s intelligence.  And it’s got to be done for the long term," he said.

It’s a story heard many times before in conflict zones all over the world.  And while aid is flowing again in Mali, the country needs the kind of long-term assistance the international community has not always been good at delivering.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 06, 2013 10:56 PM
I Think that- France did almost all absolutely correctly. It rapidly deployed the force; immediately engaged the terrorists; it pursued the terrorists relentesly; it enlisted the local forces to accompany its forces, etc, etc, etc, etc.

If this had been a NATO operation, they would still be discussing it in Brussels what to do, as if this was the first conflict the planet had ever seen; Mali would have been overun by the terrorists; the terrorists would have gotten time to get more global jihadis on site; the terrorists would have hardened their defences; half of the population, of Mali, may have been killed by the terrorists; the other half would have been setup as perimeter hostages to hide behind, as terrorist do; and the Brits would still be waiting for their pm tea, and then they would dust off some ideas from earlier colonial wars; etc etc etc.

Well done for the French. The only criticism, was not having enough assets to deploy, to completely block all escapes, and the issue that their German "partners"?? were not too willing to get engaged/help. Fortunately Canada and the US got on with the job of helping out for a very good cause = Liberate moderate African Muslims from criminal Islamist terrorist that were inflicting savage punishments to terrorize the population..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs