UK Sends Troops to Mali and West Africa

Via the BBC:  Mali crisis: 350 UK military personnel sent to West Africa

The UK is to deploy about 350 military personnel to Mali and West Africa to support French forces, No 10 has said.

This includes as many as 40 military advisers who will train soldiers in Mali and 200 British soldiers to be sent to neighbouring African countries, also to help train the Malian army.

French-led forces are continuing their offensive against Islamist militants who seized northern Mali last year.


Downing Street has repeatedly insisted there is no question of British units getting involved in fighting – but the UK Labour party has called for further clarity on what part the UK might take in the French-led mission.

The UK also offered to set up a combined joint logistics HQ in Mali, however so far the French have declined this offer.

A Number 10 spokesman said the UK government was doing what it could to support the French military intervention, "contributing to both Malian training and training forces that are involved in providing a regionally-led approach".

This is supposed to be, according to statement noted in the piece, to be a short-term deployment.  However, despite assertions about the need for clear parameters for the mission, one can’t help but note that all deployments of this nature seem to start with such assertions, but the messy nature of such situations make clarity rather difficult.

Still, the French are already signaling that the mission may soon be done.  Via the NYTWith Timbuktu Retaken, France Signals It Plans to Pull Back in Mali

The French president, François Hollande, suggested on Monday that French troops might soon stop their northward advance, leaving it to African soldiers to pursue the militants into their redoubts in the desert north. “We are winning this battle,” Mr. Hollande said in televised remarks. “When I say, ‘We,’ this is the Malian army, this is the Africans, supported by the French.”

He continued, “Now, the Africans can take over.”

FILED UNDER: Africa, Europe, World Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. JKB says:

    See, this is why you don’t give Nobel Peace prizes preemptively. Obama went forth from the ceremony, destabilized an entire region bringing anything but peace to the people of North Africa.

    On the upside, the office Obama created to close GITMO is now closing after 4 years. Oh, wait, GITMO is still open, just forgotten by the MSM.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sad news from the Guardian:

    “Islamist insurgents retreating from Timbuktu set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts, according to the Saharan town’s mayor, in an incident he described as a “devastating blow” to world heritage.”

    Some of what has been lost:

    “Books,” he said raising a massive index finger for emphasis, “were once more desired than gold or slaves in Timbuktu.”

    Another crime against humanity.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Obama went forth from the ceremony, destabilized an entire region bringing anything but peace to the people of North Africa.

    What kind of an idiot does it take to say something this ludicrous?

  4. An Interested Party says:

    Obama went forth from the ceremony, destabilized an entire region bringing anything but peace to the people of North Africa.

    It’s always nice to hear from Gaddafi apologists…

  5. Lynda says:

    The UK is yet again fighting with the French rather than against them? One more nail in the coffin of my childhood stereotypes.

    BBC Yes Minister
    Hacker: Ah, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I’m not that unilateralist! Anyway, the Americans will always protect us from the Russians, won’t they?
    Sir Humphrey: Russians? Who’s talking about the Russians?
    Hacker: Well, the independent deterrent.
    Sir Humphrey: It’s to protect us against the French!
    Hacker: The French?! But that’s astounding!
    Sir Humphrey: Why?
    Hacker: Well they’re our allies, our partners.
    Sir Humphrey: Well, they are now, but they’ve been our enemies for the most of the past 900 years. If they’ve got the bomb, we must have the bomb!
    Hacker: If it’s for the French, of course, that’s different. Makes a lot of sense.