Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mali: the worth of African troops MISMA?

International Mission Support in Mali (MISMA) shakes (here in Bamako, a company of the Nigerian Army,  Finally. In an emergency, after months of diplomatic negotiations within ECOWAS.

France has responded to the call with the Malian government. But she looks forward to handing over, at least in the first line, the African force which should rise to 2,000 troops by January 26, as the Malian army need to be trained.

Remains to fund and organize the famous MISMA ... Especially since it is "the total conquest of Mali".

The dialectic during the French side is very accurate. It is systematically put forward troops of the regular army Mali notoriously disorganized and poorly equipped. But on Monday, when it comes to evoke the reconquest of Diabaly Douentza and the Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, chooses his words carefully: "The Malian army advanced towards the towns held by their enemies is a success for certain military government in Bamako and the French forces intervening in support of these operations. "

Phrases carefully chosen to avoid offending Mali, for fear of return on dubious charges "French" leave the door open outlet if adverse events should continue. So we summarize: the Malian soldiers advance, these are their enemies, the French are in support. Which is probably far from the reality on the ground.

Very quickly indeed, 450 mentors of the European Union (with about 200 French BIMA the 9th and 3rd BM, mechanized brigade) should begin EUTM Mali (European Union training mission), mission training Malian forces. A little late to the events ...

Will he the same with the African force, the MISMA (International Mission Support Mali)? First thing, the ECOWAS countries (European Community of States in West Africa) feel the urgency finally recognized Saturday in Abidjan during the tenth meeting of the Malian case.

"The operation Serval does not aim to replace the MISMA"

Sentences are again important and meaningful. Laurent Fabius, now in Abidjan, said: "The operation Serval does not aim to replace the MISMA." Head of the Ivorian State and President of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, Alassane Ouattara, says: "A war is now imposed on us today." stop the procrastination African response to the need.

Western Insurance on business financing, a major issue had to be lifted. An annual budget, estimated at between 180 and 375 million euros for the MISMA already mentioned. Most participating countries this force does not have the financial means to meet the needs ... A donor conference would be held on 29 January in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) under the aegis of the African Union. A ministerial meeting of the support group and international monitoring of the situation in Mali will meet in Brussels on February 5.

Field is accelerated with the increase in the quota originally planned (5800 MISMA the military against the 3300 advertised), the appointment of a command structure. General Nigerian Umar Shehu Abdulkadir (photo AFP January 15 against the Chiefs of Staff of ECOWAS), the lead MISMA with his deputy, General Garba Yaya Niger. The Chief of Staff is Colonel Senegal, Jean-Paul Ntab.

For now, in Bamako we only count a little more than three hundred soldiers of the African force. The objective is to present 2000 by 26 January.

Eight West African nations have formalized their commitment Benin (650 men instead of 300), Togo (100 arrived at 750), Nigeria (200 arrived in 1200, instead of 900), Senegal (500 men), Burkina Faso (500), Niger (500) Guinea (120), Ghana (120). Côte d'Ivoire, in tune with his internal concerns, should send a battalion logistics.

Chad, second force after France

Chad, which is not part of ECOWAS, it was hit hard in 2000 promising men, specializing in ground combat in the Sahel. Two hundred special forces soldiers are already in Niger they épauleront to control the border. Chadian President Idriss Déby mégote not: "It is a projection of 3,000 km., So I can not amuse myself by sending a small unit alone can not defend themselves, thus making its mission. '

Add as Mauritania, which does not form part of ECOWAS, does not engage officially in the international coalition. But it will be hard for business to control its borders with Mali. Same thing on a gigantic scale for Algeria in the north who promised to close its border to counter a possible withdrawal of armed groups.

General (2S) Jean-Claude Thomann, a former naval infantry and connoisseur of Africa, remains cautious about the effectiveness of MISMA must, over time, manage the case in Mali, with the support of the French army (in the words of the UN resolution 2085): "Whether it is Africa that runs it is very far."

It does not call into question the value of some combat troops, as Nigerians, Chadians or Senegalese (add Nigeria, a great power and African military, which is already struggling against the Islamist sect Boko Haram in his own country). "If there is no intervention of staff with sophisticated structures such as Western armies, it will be a real problem."

France, as a nation through the force of circumstances, there should also play a role to give the binder and collective efficacy in this MISMA. "We will be in a coalition, as with the Americans or the British. We will be there to facilitate interoperability with a detachment connecting bridges between the commands and capabilities," says Clement-Bollee General, Commander of the land force. That is diplomatically well coated.

A coordination center operations MISMA will be implemented. A team of planners of the French army should take its place.

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