Operation Serval, Clausewitz, AQIM al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, Dangol-Boré, Konna, Bamako, UN United Nation, Africa, Terrorist groups, religion aims, political aims
In February 2011, Geoff D. Porter commented on the increased activity of al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), whose 'kidnap and ransom threat' made a growing instability factor in the Saharan region. Establishing multiple groups on the cross-border zone of northern Mali, northern Niger and eastern Mauritania, AQIM managed to build what Porter calls a 'relevancy' - but he also predicted that this momentum would soon fade away, due to a lack of targets mostly. Most importantly, he rightfully predicted a change in the group's strategy and mentioned its constant aggressive rhetoric towards the region's governments.
[...] The answer given by the Colonel is much the same we are trying to give here; the complementarity of ground and air power appears conditional to all military success. “If you want to control, you have to be present in force in the physical environment in which crises are born, grow, and resolved, that is to say, on the ground.” Gl. Vincent Desportes The singular characteristics of ground presence - compared to airpower - are indeed necessary additions to airstrikes in order for France to pursue its strategic objectives in Mali. [...]
[...] As we have said, Clausewitz links the weight of the political objective to the degree of force used and the scale of the effort put into the war. In our modern world and Western countries, this also has to be tied to the public - the prime example would be the populations resent towards casualties in such distant theatres. The implications of the strategic concerns we have tried to expose here will be the object of our second part, focusing on the conduct of the war. [...]
[...] On this matter, Clausewitz wrote extensively and designated time as a vital element in considering military events. And as Kissinger also famously wrote, ‘the guerrilla wins if it does not lose' while ‘the conventional army loses if it does not win'. We then have to consider time as playing for the smaller side and against the bigger one. This idea of “active defence” ‘is the classical calculus of guerrilla warfare and aims not at crushing the enemy's army, but at destroying it through exhaustion' (Christopher Daase). [...]
[...] We have tried to show French purposes during Serval, and how they impacted the means that were used - we will now try to confront them to a clausewitzian understanding of war and strategy. D. A victory of Clausewitz's principles? Progress of African and French forces was constant during all the month of January: Timbuktu, Gao, Kidal, the Adagh mountains, all Islamists strongholds since the start of the insurrection a year before, are gradually reconquered. Francois Hollande is greeted by an immense crowd in Timbuktu on the 2nd of February, as Laurent Fabius announces the retreat of French forces in the country starting from March. [...]
[...] Operation Serval's strategic considerations and Clausewitz In February 2011, Geoff D. Porter commented on the increased activity of al- Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), whose ‘kidnap and ransom threat' made a growing instability factor in the Saharan region. Establishing multiple groups on the cross-border zone of northern Mali, northern Niger and eastern Mauritania, AQIM managed to build what Porter calls a ‘relevancy' - but he also predicted that this momentum would soon fade away, due to a lack of targets mostly. [...]
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