Opération Serval - Mali.

The Estonian SF contingent of TF Takuba composed of about 50 pax has arrived this week in Gao, Mali, courtesy of C-17s of NATO's Strategic Airlift Capability program.

20200716_takuba-1024x683-640x427.jpg
 
The USA threatens HR violators in the Sahel region....

Hmmm.
That's all very well. Do not support those you want to win against those you want to loose normally means you end up loosing and the enemy wins. It might be better to promise more on better behaviour.
 

NemoIII

War Hero
The British Army shared a post about the deployment to Mali.

Its seems to have been deleted so maybe it wasn't meant to be shared.

Not sure I should post what was said?
 
The British Army shared a post about the deployment to Mali.

Its seems to have been deleted so maybe it wasn't meant to be shared.

Not sure I should post what was said?
if it was published, then it will have been recorded.
If it is delaying the deployment, then no surprise there - there have been enough articles by that paragon of advocating the monopoly of state violence, the quaker founded Oxford Research Group saying its a silly idea.
On that basis, it should go ahead with even looser RoE - SHOOTBATT in the Sun
 
if it was published, then it will have been recorded.
If it is delaying the deployment, then no surprise there - there have been enough articles by that paragon of advocating the monopoly of state violence, the quaker founded Oxford Research Group saying its a silly idea.
On that basis, it should go ahead with even looser RoE - SHOOTBATT in the Sun
If a delay occurs, I think there are also reasons linked to construction having to be done before the Brit contingent deploys...Mali is short of everything and what you get has to come from far away.

For example, most of Op Barkhane supplies come from Abidjan in Ivory Coast, over 1,800 km from Gao.
 
A FRA MoD report on the Groupement Commando de Montagne operating in Mali.

Gives a good idea of the importance of robust ISR and RW support in this AOO.

 
Italy is now formally joining TF Takuba.

Italian MPs have cleared the deployment of up to 200 soldiers, 20 GMVs, 8 aerial assets (RW, UAVs) in the coming 6 months.

Italy will thus become TF Takuba's second largest contributor after France and before Sweden.

The ITA contingent will be based in Ansongo in the 3 borders area of Mali.

 
A Trooper belonging to the 1er RHP (ABN Hussars) has been KIA yesterday morning in a SVBIED attack against his VBL AFV in Mali. Two other French soldiers have been WIA.

RIP
 
Hussard parachutiste de 1re classe Tojohasina RAZAFINTSALAMA belonging to the 1er régiment de hussards parachutistes located in Tarbes was KIA yesterday in Mali.

He was 25 and this was his first Op; he had been deployed in Mali for less than 10 days.

RIP

EdoEpEJXYAAVfxn.jpg
 

Bobby_Bert

Old-Salt
Copy & paste.


Two gunshot injuries with sucking chest wounds!” yells Captain Bobbie Buchan, as the casualties are rushed to the medics.

The insurgents had fired a “shoot and scoot”; racing past the British Forward Operating Base on quad bikes with machine guns blazing, hoping to hit anyone inside.

As an exercise it was very realistic. Even more so given the surreal appearance of three cyclists peddling over Salisbury Plain (most parts are open to the public) and through the middle of the firefight.

The men and women of the British Army’s Long Range Reconnaissance Group (Mali), b



The Sahel in northern Africa is not a part of the world that is fundamentally anti-Western or hostile to engagement with the outside world, says Paul Melly of Chatham House, the international affairs think tank. It is not the norm to support radical jihadist groups.

Even so, it is a very fragile region. Last year 4,800 people were killed in jihadist violence and wider lawlessness across Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and 1.7million had to leave their homes.

However, as the Sahel controls access to Europe’s southern flank, with increasing al Qaeda and Islamic State influence it is the area of the world most likely to see the West’s next big military engagement.

With forces already on the ground, participation in EU military missions would be completely coherent with Britain's strategic objectives in the region.

But as that would involve operating under the EU flag it is currently politically unacceptable to London. Hence the drive for British forces to participate as a UN peacekeeping force.



Sitting on the southern edge of the Sahara, the Sahel is environmentally very vulnerable. Inter-communal tensions and ethnic identity issues are prevalent. In many countries the state structures are essentially democratic but very weak. “Their ability to provide public services is pretty patchy,” Mr Melly says.

Nevertheless many West African societies have a long history of positive engagement with the West.

Colonial rule from Paris ended in Mali in 1960 through a peaceful political process. Mr Melly says there has not been the “overweening French post colonial influence” seen in some of the Central African dictatorships. Typical engagement with the outside world is more likely to be a doctor from MSF or a French agronomist from Action Against Hunger.



Malian people generally accept state rule and expect it to function.

The country has recently held parliamentary elections. There was some disruption by armed groups but in general people were able to go to polling stations (the turnout was between 30 and 40 per cent).

The bureaucracy can function, in some areas quite strongly.

Mali’s food crisis early warning system, for tracking the weather and the state of crops, is being copied by the UN in other parts of the world. Civil servants “bumping around in four wheel drives” try to provide these basic services and keep the state functioning, Mr Melly says.



The EU is very popular in the region.

As the biggest development donor the EU is more influential in the Sahel than probably anywhere else outside Europe. It is also perceived as not having a political agenda.

There is wariness of French intentions due to their colonial past in the region. The CFA franc currency (the currency of eight independent states in West Africa that is linked to the Euro) is a contentious issue for urban youth.

Some also think France is motivated by the Sahel’s mineral resources. However, other than French uranium mines in Niger, supplying the nuclear industry, this sector is in dominated by Canadian, British, Russian and Australian companies, Mr Melly says.



The security crisis has built up over the past decade for two main reasons.

First, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM, an Algerian-led movement of veterans of the internal conflict in that country) has moved south in recent years into Mali and is now part of a powerful coalition including Nusrat-al-Islam. An Islamic State affiliate has also sprung up.

Second, with the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 Tuareg fighters from northern Mali that had been recruited by the Libyan leader returned.

The influx of experienced fighters “turbocharged a movement by some northern Tuaregs to translate cultural self identity into independence from Mali,” says Mr Melly.



Some West African governments blame Britain and France for failing to consider the impact of the Libyan intervention and provide an “after sales service”.

“They think Gaddafi should have been nudged out through renegotiation,” Mr Melly says. Whether that's a fair perception or not, it is widely felt that Britain, like France, owes something to the region.

Some Tuareg fighters joined with AQIM to take over in northern Mali in 2012. As Bamako, the Malian capital, was threatened, the government asked the French to intervene (along with other West African forces).

Many northern towns were liberated and an uneasy truce established with the Tuareg. The jihadists however, driven much more by ideology, fought on.


British forces in Mali
There are currently 105 British military personnel deployed in Mali. The vast majority support the French offensive mission Operation BARKHANE, tracking down and fighting jihadist extremists. This number includes the RAF detachment operating three Chinook heavy lift helicopters.
A further five personnel work in the MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako, the Malian capital (they are separate from the Light Dragoons support to MINUSMA).
The Long Range Reconnaissance Group will consist of one squadron (about 70 soldiers) from the Light Dragoons regiment, operating the Jackal patrol vehicle. It will also take under command B Company of 2 ROYAL ANGLIAN (The Poachers), about 100 infanteers, operating the Foxhound vehicle, specially designed to withstand roadside bombs.
Around 80 soldiers will form the command element, a Forward Surgical Capability and the logistic squadron from the Light Dragoons.
It will be a pleasing change for the British military to operate in a region where there is no deep mistrust of Westerners or foreigners.
“We’re not looking to hunt down violent extremists,” says Lieutenant Colonel Tom Robinson, the Commanding Officer (CO) of the Light Dragoons. “We’re on a peacekeeping mission.”
The Light Dragoons will be the first unit to deploy in a three-year UK commitment.
Lt Col Robinson says the men and women under his command will apply the “hard-won lessons” from Afghanistan. He believes peacekeeping operations are nothing new for British forces. “Is this just a continuation of what used to be normal?” he asks.
The 250-strong Long Range Reconnaissance Group (Mali) will be operating alongside a German and Swedish Infantry Patrols Task Group.
The People’s Liberation Army from China is in a nearby camp. Lt Col Robinson says he has been given no guidance on interaction with Chinese forces.
His primary aim is to “set the ground for subsequent units to succeed”. The worst thing his Task Group could do would be to rush into the environment and become embroiled in situations they had “not anticipated and for which we haven’t prepared”.

The current commander of MINUSMA, Swedish Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllensporre, wants to make it more proactive. Which is where the long range reconnaissance skills of the British troops come in.
The Light Dragoons, supported by an infantry company from the 2nd battalion of the Royal Anglian regiment (known as The Poachers), will fill a role currently absent from the UN mission.
Part of the problem for MINUSMA is that the distances in Mali are so vast. The UN has had to devote a lot of its effort to protecting itself and hasn't been able to do as much as it would like to reach out to the local population.
The British troops will be pushing deep into ungoverned territory, operating for weeks at a time in excess of 300km from their home base in Gao in eastern Mali.
Their mission is to be the UN’s eyes and ears, helping to understand better the difficulties experienced by locals hitherto out of reach.
They will use new night vision equipment and hand-held drones, not yet deployed operationally by the regular army.

The British Long Range Reconnaissance Group (designed deliberately to echo the Long Range Desert Group of the Second World War) will operate in camouflage vehicles (“reconnaissance is all about not being seen,” says one soldier). They will carry, but not routinely wear, the UN’s blue helmets.
Lt Col Robinson says his troops will be adopting the same posture as German forces in the region now.
The peacekeeping mission sits alongside but is entirely separate from the French-led anti-terrorist deployment called Operation BARKHANE.
The French troops, numbering over 5,000, are primarily focused on tackling the armed groups affiliated to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in northeastern Mali, in the three borders area where Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso come together.

The Task Group commanders are not concerned at the lack of operational experience in their troops: only about 10 per cent have served in Afghanistan and for most of the soldiers the six-month deployment starting in December will be their first operational tour.
Lt Col Robinson says his unit understands they are not going to Mali seeking a fight. He says operating from the Sahara to the jungle will be hard, but worthwhile.
“It’s every young officers' dream,” he says, “but it will keep me and the command team very busy”.
Lance Corporal Craig Rattray, 19, from Leighton Buzzard says he’s looking forward to the deployment as a chance “to do the good stuff”. He says he’s keen to show British troops are good soldiers and is not fussed about having to give up his mobile phone, for security reasons, whilst out on patrol.
“I’d rather get my head down,” he says.
 
With forces already on the ground, participation in EU military missions would be completely coherent with Britain's strategic objectives in the region.

But as that would involve operating under the EU flag it is currently politically unacceptable to London. Hence the drive for British forces to participate as a UN peacekeeping force.
so who is misinformed ?
The media?
Chatham House?
British Army?
MOD?
British Government?

The U.K. currently has (since 2013) British soldiers serving with EUTM Mali


the UN mission has a different task to the EU one though.
 
All the talks about France being in Mali for economic reasons are very disingenuous.

Op Barkhane costs more than twice the value of the French-Malian trade every year. France is only the 4th trading partner of Mali for malian purchases in France and is ranked as its 16th client...

Some info on the LD preparation before deployment.

 
France’s African forever war


UK press staking more notice, this is from the UK's fastest growing long form essay magazine, widely read by those who have some say

Last year in a bar in Saint-Maixent, where the French army has its NCO training base, I asked a corporal what was the purpose of Barkhane? He replied with a one-word answer “Bataclan.” His mate nodded over his glass of 1664 lager.
 
France’s African forever war


UK press staking more notice, this is from the UK's fastest growing long form essay magazine, widely read by those who have some say

Last year in a bar in Saint-Maixent, where the French army has its NCO training base, I asked a corporal what was the purpose of Barkhane? He replied with a one-word answer “Bataclan.” His mate nodded over his glass of 1664 lager.
Not as good an Unherd article as I'd hoped.

Fingers crossed Aris Roussinous puts pen to paper about Mali soon - his reportage of the 2013 Serval OP in Gao won him a Rory Peck Award
 

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