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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid