Archive | August, 2019

Why is the UK going to Mali?

In one of her last acts as British Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt announced 250 troops will be deployed to support the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, but for this to be effective it needs a more coherent strategy for engagement in the Sahel and Africa with clear objectives and resources. Amidst the flurry of a new British Prime Minister and Cabinet, it was easy to miss the Government’s announcement that they are deploying a long-range reconnaissance task group of 250 personnel to Mali in 2020. But it is important. Not only does it represent the most significant contribution of British forces to the frontline of a UN peacekeeping mission since Bosnia, it could also potentially be the most dangerous mission for British forces since Afghanistan – the French military has lost over 24 soldiers since it commenced Operation Barkhane in Mali in 2013. It also follows a continued commitment from the UK to tackle instability in the Sahel. As Mordaunt notes: “[t]he UK is committed to supporting the international community in combating instability in Mali, as well as strengthening our wider military engagement across the Sahel region.” In September 2018, the UK announced its support to Operation Barkhane with the much-lauded deployment of Royal Air Force Chinook […]

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