News / Africa

France Could Face Long Intervention in CAR

French President Francois Hollande (C) pays tribute near a flag-draped coffin bearing one of two French soldiers who was killed overnight, in Bangui, Dec. 10, 2013.
French President Francois Hollande (C) pays tribute near a flag-draped coffin bearing one of two French soldiers who was killed overnight, in Bangui, Dec. 10, 2013.
Lisa Bryant
— France's President Francois Hollande has vowed to stay the course in the Central African Republic, where French forces deployed to curb the country's escalating violence have sustained their first casualties.  After Mali, CAR marks Paris' second military intervention in Africa this year. It may also prove more complex and lengthy than expected.

During a brief visit to the Central African Republic Tuesday evening, French President Francois Hollande said France's aim of disarming warring groups and restoring stability is essential to avoid more bloodshed.

"The mission is the same," Hollande said.  "France knew it would be dangerous, but it is necessary to avoid carnage."

The president spoke hours after French forces sustained their first two fatalities since beginning their operation in CAR.

Mali intervention

The killings bookend a year that began with France's 4,000-strong military intervention in another former French colony - Mali - to drive out Islamist militants who had taken over the north.

The 1,600 French soldiers in the CAR are far fewer than those intervening in Mali, and French authorities have said this latest operation will only last about six months.

But analysts like African specialist Roland Marchal, of the Paris-based National Centre for Scientific Research, are skeptical.

"It's an illusion - as it was an illusion in Mali to declare the war was over, that French soldiers will be back home soon… We have more than 2,000 soldiers [still in Mali] when Francois Hollande promised that only 1,000 would be there by the end of the year," he said.

French troops killed 19 Islamists in northern Mali earlier this week, underscoring the reality that fighting there has not ended.  French authorities say about 1,000 French troops will remain there in the coming months.

In the CAR, where this year's crisis has displaced about 500,000 people, the country's dense forests make military operations difficult.  And considering the CAR's history of instability, securing peace and state authority will be challenging.

Marchal also believes that it may take longer than six months to hand over operations to a beefed-up African force.

"It's basically [that] the African force will need quite some time to get ready in Bangui as well as in the countryside.  And because the funding is actually quite minimal," he said.

France has intervened in the CAR before, but Hollande has vowed a new French relationship with Africa as a whole, based on partnership and humanitarian concerns. 

Reaction in France

At home, much of the opposition backs the operation, including Christian Jacob, who heads the conservative UMP party in the National Assembly.  In a radio interview Wednesday, Jacob said the CAR military operation is essential, given the country's strategic location in the heart of Africa.

But Jacob said France is largely "isolated" in its military mission.  France can only succeed, he says, if it works alongside other partners and rapidly hands over the operation to an international force.

Unlike the strong popular support for France's Mali operation, polls show many French today have mixed feelings about this latest one.

But Marchal says the intervention is unlikely to affect the president ratings, which ultimately will be determined by his domestic policies, and not his foreign ones.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: amna from: pakistan
December 15, 2013 3:09 AM
France is one of the most popular European countries around the world, bordered by different countries, do you know what countries border France? what is its economy? Following is a good article about France. See the details and increase your general knowledge about France.
http://www.thecountriesof.com/what-countries-border-france-list/

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid