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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs