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.
[...] At the start of the insurrection, the MNLA initiated the insurrection for political, economic and social revindications. Their Islamist allies root theirs in religious beliefs, which do not exclude political concerns, for such radical views (mainly Wahhabi and Salafi movements) do not recognize any independence for the political sphere from the realm of God. The ambition of an ‘Islamic state' is often put at the centre of the groups' revindications: in a video from August 2010, Abdallah Chinguetti declared the need to topple corrupt and unbeliever governments throughout the Maghreb and Sahel and the need to establish sharia states. [...]
[...] In the first days of the operation, the strategy was to contain the jihadi offensive, in order to wait for the establishment of the African coalitions, that would lead to an eventual future pursuit. Albeit this view was adapted quickly, it shows, on par with what we have so far said, the limited aims with which French approached the situation - we will later try to show what conditions and events led to Paris to act in such a way. [...]
[...] French Intervention in Mali: Strategic Alliances, Long-term Regional presence? Susanna D. Wing AQIM's objectives in North Africa, Geoff D. Porter 2011 La Guerre de la France au Mali, Notin, Tallandier 2014 La Guerre de Trois Mois : L'intervention française au Mali en perspectives, Goya 2013 New and Old wars, Kaldor 1999 On war, Clausewitz 1832 The Relevancy of the Clausewitzian Trinity to the War on Terrorism, Glavy 2001 Politics and war: Clausewitz 's Paradoxical Equation, Waldman 2010 Clausewitz on Small Wars, Daase 2005 Operation Serval: Analysing the French strategy against jihadis, S. [...]
[...] Dioncounda Traoré, former president of the National Assembly now head of the Malian state, issues an official call for help to France on the same day. The letter asks for support against AQIM, Ansar Dine and the MUJWO, whose offensive places them only 640 kilometres from the capital. Albeit France had stood by while the jihadis wreaked havoc on the north of the country, the French army initiates ‘Operation Serval' on the 11th of January. Operating without UN cover, Paris immediately starts to defend the legality of its action and its objectives. [...]
[...] Starting in the night of the 11th of January, air strikes were conducted on strategically important locations: Islamists training camps, logistics depots and infrastructure. Tactical airpower (Gazelle choppers) also contributed to stopping the jihadi columns around Konna, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on the 13th of January that the terrorist offensive had been ‘blocked', and that the French Army now started to ‘deal with the terrorists back bases'. As we have mentioned earlier, French strategy at that time still counted on African forces to reclaim Northern Mali. [...]
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