Opération Serval - Mali.

Durandal1

Old-Salt
I found this interesting video from the frog MOD today...
Real flying by the seat of the pants stuff, if any thing went wrong, such as logistics, the game was up.
Operation Serval - Wikipedia
The French intervention in Mali: A lesson in Mission Command

This bloke Michael Shurkin wrote some interesting stuff about Serval.
What Can the U.S. Army Learn from France's War in Mali?
What It Means to Be Expeditionary: A Look at the French Army in Africa > National Defense University Press > Joint Force Quarterly 82
Shurkin on the mindset of French officers...
What a 1963 Novel Tells Us About the French Army, Mission Command, and the Romance of the Indochina War
And then some of his own views on the matter...
Mars attaque: About the operation Serval in Mali - Interview with Michael Shurkin (Rand)
 
Some of the contest to conflict and insecurity in North Africa:

The deadly African gold rush fuelled by people smugglers' promises

The EU, largely through the French, has done some good work in Chad and Mali; it is perhaps worth highlighting one particular point:

[Nasrudin Omar] Bahar says he barely makes enough to buy food.

This directly corresponds with intelligence received by FRONTEX from debriefing migrants in Greece and Italy. One of the main drivers now behind illegal migration is lack of food due to economic collapse, not famine.
 
Its not too bad a piece and for once highlights the main issue of money or how the locals make a living.

The troubles in the region go back to major droughts in the 70s and 80s, which crippled the herding and agrarian economies of the Sahel, killed 10s of thousands and displaced huge numbers into camps.
Since then, the locals have been recovering back to a significantly changed way of life and seeking other ways of getting by, such as being rented guns for Gadafhi, smuggling ciggies/drugs, and now living off the back of the conflict.
It also ignited the simmering Malian North/South friction, the revolts* in the 90s and the 00s were mainly due to the indifference of Bamako and the choke they put on aid and investment.
Weapon smuggling is big business, as is jihad. Many of the kids who went to the north of Mali in 2012 were paid $50 a day.
Given the amount of Wahabi money seeping into the region for a while (see the unusually prescient report linked below), until a better way of making money that doesn't rely on western or middle eastern handouts crops** up, this one is going to roll and roll
Islamist Terrorism in the Sahel: Fact or Fiction?


*the tuaregs are always revolting... and often rising up in arms too...
**no radical alternative poppy cultivation options here either, though US embargoes have similarly hampered cotton farming in Mali
 
Some of the contest to conflict and insecurity in North Africa:

The deadly African gold rush fuelled by people smugglers' promises

The EU, largely through the French, has done some good work in Chad and Mali; it is perhaps worth highlighting one particular point:

[Nasrudin Omar] Bahar says he barely makes enough to buy food.

This directly corresponds with intelligence received by FRONTEX from debriefing migrants in Greece and Italy. One of the main drivers now behind illegal migration is lack of food due to economic collapse, not famine.
Blokes they vote for usually have enough for a spare corporate jet or two though, so that's OK.
 
Some good footage of French Army Aviation (ALAT) operating in North Africa - a bit dated i.e. 2015 but captures the operating environment very well:

 
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The pandora's box opened in Libya in 2011 continues to drag in more Western resources.

'France will further bolster its anti-jihadist force in the Sahel, on top of 220 reinforcement soldiers already sent recently to try to stem a spiral of violence in the region, the country's top general said Wednesday. Defence chief of staff Francois Lecointre told reporters in Paris he would detail the "profile and composition" of the proposed troop buildup to President Emmanuel Macron in the coming days.

'France has a 4,500-member force in the Sahel region, recently reinforced with a further 220 soldiers, to train and assist local forces fighting an increasingly deadly insurgency in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad.'


http://www.rfi.fr/en/wires/20200122-france-further-boost-its-anti-jihad-force-sahel
 
Sweden has confirmed its participation to Task Force Takuba in Mali with a contingent of 150 SOF personnel and helicopters (probably UH-60s).


TF Takuba is a French led project aiming at doing A3E missions, including combat operations, with the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa), in Mali. It has been noted that the terrorists tend to vacate areas where Op Barkhane is deployed IOT avoid its firepower, only to return once the FAMa are put back in charge. Thus, with EU SOF doing A3E with them, it is hoped that the FAMa will gain in confidence and effectiveness.

So far, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Denmark are in with other EU nations having expressed interest in the project which is already underway. A total of 500 EU SOF are hoped for IOT have the project FOC.

This is the 4th time Swedish SOF associate with French forces in Africa (2 times in DRC in 2003 and 2006, one in Chad/CAR in 2008 )
 
Sweden has confirmed its participation to Task Force Takuba in Mali with a contingent of 150 SOF personnel and helicopters (probably UH-60s).


TF Takuba is a French led project aiming at doing A3E missions, including combat operations, with the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa), in Mali. It has been noted that the terrorists tend to vacate areas where Op Barkhane is deployed IOT avoid its firepower, only to return once the FAMa are put back in charge. Thus, with EU SOF doing A3E with them, it is hoped that the FAMa will gain in confidence and effectiveness.

So far, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Denmark are in with other EU nations having expressed interest in the project which is already underway. A total of 500 EU SOF are hoped for IOT have the project FOC.

This is the 4th time Swedish SOF associate with French forces in Africa (2 times in DRC in 2003 and 2006, one in Chad/CAR in 2008 )
Is it Op Serval, EUTM Mali, UNMISMA or a new mission?

We have a small number of ARW with the German SOF unit on UNMISMA
 
Is it Op Serval, EUTM Mali, UNMISMA or a new mission?

We have a small number of ARW with the German SOF unit on UNMISMA
Serval has in fact been replaced by Barkhane in 2014.

TF Takuba will be under Barkhane, they are expected to take the fight to the terrorists, with the FAMa. The nations that have accepted to join in are aware that this is not a training or a peacekeeping mission but a combat mission.
 
You win some but you also lose some....after a lot of initial interest by the NOR military, the NOR parliament has refused to authorize a NOR participation to Op Takuba.

 
From other interactions with the Norwegians, this is likely influenced by Covid-19.
 
Takuba was officially launched yesterday; note that the UK is listed in the 13 nations committing to the project. Exactly at what level, I don't know. Are Specialized Infantry Battalions busy at the moment ?

;)



After an audio conference on Friday, representatives of 13 countries - Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Mali, the Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the UK - issued a statement in which they committed to further efforts to overcome the "terrorist groups' resilience".

The statement said Takuba, which means "sabre" in Tuareg, is planned "to have an initial operational capability (IOC) by the summer of 2020 and expected to become operational (FOC) by early 2021".

It added that new task force will assist regional armies in countering armed groups and will complement efforts made by France's Operation Barkhane and the regional G5 Sahel Joint Force, comprised of troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

The new task force will operate in the Liptako region, an area between Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, according to the statement.
 
@fantassin
is it me, or do you seem to have been gone a while mate ?, good to see you back.

Mali is great sharpening stone for French doctrine and hardware. Their experience here will have major lessons for rest of us.
 
@fantassin
is it me, or do you seem to have been gone a while mate ?, good to see you back.

Mali is great sharpening stone for French doctrine and hardware. Their experience here will have major lessons for rest of us.
Yes I was gone for a few years. Being confined has helped the return ! Thank you for the kind words

Ref. the current Ops in the Sahel they are of course, like all Ops, full of lessons but I don't know how long this will last. I am quite worried that COVID will have lasting effects on French foreign Ops as all ministries will be scrambling for money, as well as on a number of African Governments that will find it very difficult to whistand the shock.

If you have a couple of minutes, read that....

 

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