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January 31, 2013

French and Malian Troops Recapture Remaining Islamist-controlled Cities

Fifteen days ago I reported on the French intervention in Mali, Operation Serval, and the progress they have made in that time. Since January 14th, French and Malian forces have taken back two of the remaining major urban centers in Northern Mali: Timbuktu, Gao, and are on the verge of recapturing the distant Northeastern town of Kidal.

France has also increased the troop presence from roughly 400 troops on the ground three weeks ago to roughly 2,100 as of January 30th with another 1000 supporting from neighboring countries. The Islamists have  now been pushed back to their Saharan desert hideouts – a portion of Mali the size of Texas.

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  • Allwet

    @momengineer  @TimUFR We are all victims of a very "agendized" media , of which is none  is held liable for the accuracy of their statements, nor the glaring omissions .Long , low key deployments are key if you want to keep your "in country cadre" to a minimum  with maximized results.Lessons learned ,are lessons passed on, versus a new bull in the china shop every coupla years.Not to mention media presence is probably a minimal factor-what a blessing that would be! Interesting stuff indeed Tim , and your history comment is dead on target.

  • TimUFR

    @momengineer hm, a bit better, maybe but then not by much. I've moved from France to North Carolina 6 months ago, and I don't see such a big different in attention span when it comes to anything serious and related to foreign/defense policy. People spend too much time reading the news instead of History books. In the case of Mali, recent events looks a lot like the initial capture of Timbuktu by the French army in 1893. The main difference is the presence of djihadists.

  • momengineer

    @TimUFR Sorry, TimUFR, I had missed your statement on the 26 yrs in Chad....I do feel like the american public is the ADHD poster child of the world in terms of attention span...perhaps European countries are a bit better...

  • TimUFR

    @momengineer well as I said Opération Epervier in Chad has been going on for 26 years. That's a generation right there. Every soldier and airman that I know has been deployed there one time at least. Most multiple times. And we've actually kept forces in Africa for generations. I can't tell you what our politicians will decide, but as far as the army is concerned, they think it's just one more long term african mission and that it will still be going on in 10 years or more. Being based and deployed in Africa is really business as usual in the French armed forces. It's been going on for generations. Although, your comment is true as far as the media and public is concerned.

  • StormR

    @momengineer  @TimUFR  "What is a "long time" for the french, is considered a "short time" for those who  think in terms of generations.".     Yes, that's the hard lesson that the US has learned.