French Army operations in Mali provide an example of how a technologically sophisticated army organizes and fields an expeditionary force. While the French way of war may not be optimal for U.S. commanders, who have greater resources at their disposal, the Army should still examine it for useful insights.
In Mali, France stopped jihadists from taking over, ejected them from the country almost entirely, and struck a major blow to their ability to threaten France and the region. This success story provides important lessons for the U.S. debate about how to deal with ISIS.
The launch of Barkhane, a new military operation by France, signals a change. Rather than simply reacting to an emergency as it did in Mali, France is committing to a long-term counterterrorism campaign, a much greater and more public commitment. This is welcome news for the U.S.
If NATO wants to avoid strategic irrelevance, it needs to give increasing attention to the threats from the Middle East and North Africa region. A southern strategy should draw on recent experience, such as NATO's intervention in Libya and the successful operation in Mali.
Free and fair elections are important, to be sure, but what Mali really needs is a leader who is dedicated to democracy, unity and reform of Mali's politics and institutions, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.
Discusses how lasting security and stability can be established in northern Mali after the 2012 conflict there, with an emphasis on understanding the region's complex dynamics and engaging northerners in security solutions.
Coinciding with continuing, contentious hearings on the U.S. response to last September's terrorist attack in Benghazi, the attack on the Amenas natural gas facility in Algeria has elevated a more general debate about the war on terrorism and U.S. policy in Africa, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
An attack of this complexity would have required months of reconnaissance, planning, recruiting of inside confederates, and training of participants. France's intervention in Mali was used to “justify” an attack that would likely have taken place anyway, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
France is in Mali not just to prop up a failing state in French Africa, but because Mali was becoming a magnet for jihadis from around the world and Paris rightly feared the country could become the next Afghanistan—only much closer to Europe, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Last week's terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria, along with the recent success of the militant groups fighting government forces in Mali, indicate al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are gaining influence in North Africa. RAND experts weigh in on the latest developments.
There is a danger in viewing Mali through the prism of counter-terrorism, since the rebel element there is tangled up in movements and groups with a wide variety of interests and motives, ranging from sincere religious conviction to local political rivalries to base economic opportunism, writes Michael Shurkin.
No solution is likely to offer more than a short-term reprise if it is not accompanied by real progress toward resolving Mali's political crisis and strengthening the Malian state and Malian democracy, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin.
France should coordinate military action with efforts to engage with local factions to use as partners and proxies, write Stephanie Pezard and Michael Shurkin. This is, in effect, how France conquered and secured northern Mali in the first place a century ago.
African leaders meeting in Paris on Wednesday agreed that an African-led operation is needed to keep the western part of the continent from becoming overtaken by terrorists, including al Qaeda affiliates.