Plan for a military intervention in Mali accelerates with the help of France 1910127

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Defense News - Mali

 
 
Friday, October 19, 2012, 09:34 AM
 
Plan for a military intervention in Mali accelerates with the help of France.
African and European leaders will meet in Bamako Friday, October 19, 2012, to work on plans for a military intervention to seize back Mali's desert north from armed Islamists who control the region. Rebels from the Al-Qaeda-allied group Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) on Thursday used pickaxes and other tools to destroy Muslin saints' tombs in the ancient city of Timbuktu, their latest attack on its cultural treasures.
     
African and European leaders will meet in Bamako Friday, October 19, 2012, to work on plans for a military intervention to seize back Mali's desert north from armed Islamists who control the region. Rebels from the Al-Qaeda-allied group Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) on Thursday used pickaxes and other tools to destroy Muslin saints' tombs in the ancient city of Timbuktu, their latest attack on its cultural treasures.
Army of Mali must be trained and re-equipped by U.N. international forces to fight against the Islamist groups.
     

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that military invention in northern Mali is a "matter of weeks, not months" away after a UN Security Council resolution called for detailed plans of the operation. Nevertheless, there are doubts about the feasibility of this timeline, given the problems of turning the Malian military into an effective force.

France is throwing its weight behind plans for more than 6,000 troops from African nations to flush out Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda in northern Mali, amid mounting alarm over the threat the insurgents pose to regional and western security.

“We need to build up the operational capacity of the Malian forces,” said the official. “There therefore needs to be a European effort aimed at achieving this and we need to see which EU states will contribute.”

In order to boost the military effort, France is willing to give intelligence and logistical support. French planners are embedded with military officials from Ecowas, although Mr Hollande insists there can be no French boots on the ground in any operation.

On 12 October, the Security Council approved the French-presented Resolution 2071 calling for "detailed recommendations" on the concept of operations, the forces that would be involved, and the financial cost of supporting the intervention to be submitted by 26 November.

It said that military and security planners should be immediately provided to work closely with Mali's transitional authorities, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and Mali's neighbours. It added that the AU and European Union (EU) should also provide coordinated assistance to build Mali's military capacity as soon as possible.

The Council of the EU responded on 15 October by calling for the Union to examine the possibility of supporting the AU, the ECOWAS, as well as reorganising and training the Malian military.

 

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