Tag Archives | Mali

Stability in Mali: re-emergence of old French counterinsurgency models?

By Roel Vandervelde  (roel.vandervelde@port.ac.uk) Paper c0-published with the WAPSN website at http://www.westafricasecuritynetwork.org/stability-in-mali-re-emergence-of-old-french-counterinsurgency-models/ In the last four years French forces have conducted major military operations in two African states. In 2013, the French government promised to ‘clean up the area’ in Central African Republic as well as return ‘stability’ to Mali through the ‘reconquest’ of Northern Mali under operation Serval after disgruntled military men had ousted the elected Mali president and lost the North to a Tuareg rebellion.[1]  Between January and April 2013 French air and land forces acted unilaterally and decisively to roll back southbound offensives of an alliance of multifarious Tuareg clans, Islamic tribes and groups like Ansar Dine, and outsiders like Al-Qaeda, which had sprung up the year before.[2] President Hollande quickly announced French deference to the Mali authorities in February 2013, “The changeover is soon enough, now it’s the Malians who have the responsibility to assure the transition and above all the stability of their country.”[3] France deftly handed operational responsibility to the MINUSMA UN mission in July 2013. Eerily reminiscent of the flight-deck announcement of US president George W. Bush in Iraq in 2003, the following January the French President announced troop reductions, now that the […]

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The French military in Africa: successes, challenges ahead?

While French president Hollande claims that his French policy in Africa represents a change from that of his predecessor Sarkozy, France is still engaged in two military operations in Africa which both started prior to his presidency, in 2013. Does this apparent contradiction reflect a political will on his part or is it the result of other processes? Tony Chafer is Professor of Contemporary French Area Studies and Director of the Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth. His main research interests lie in French African policy in the colonial and post-colonial periods, French military and security policy in Africa and EU security policy in Africa. He is a Research Associate of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and acts as a consultant to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on French African policy.   France has since January 2013 been engaged in two major new military operations in the Sahel/Sahara, but major problems persist. Operation Serval, the 2013 combined French-Chadian military intervention in Mali, was widely regarded as a military success. On 1 August 2014, Serval came to an end and was replaced by a new, regional Sahel-Sahara military mission, Operation Barkhane, undertaken in partnership with the so-called ‘G5 […]

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