The French-led intervention in Mali is gathering more support. British, American, and Canadian support was offered in the form of transport planes as well as communication and intelligence assistance. Today, Denmark and Belgium offered to help with the growing mission in Mali.
The Danes are sending a C-130 Hercules transport plane, which will not take part in combat operations but will be providing logistical support. Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal said he thought that sending assistance was necessary despite possibly making Denmark a target of terrorism:
I think we let the people of Mali down if we don’t go in and help in the situation. We also risk Mali becoming the next hotbed of terrorism and extremism, and I don’t want any part of that,
Belgium has offered to send two C-130 Hercules transport planes, two helicopters, and 75 troops. A meeting of E.U. ministers is scheduled for Thursday when it is expected that a 400 to 500-strong European force will be announced.
While the number of countries getting involved in the intervention in Mali is growing it is important to remember which country produces much of the equipment they are sending. The British, Canadians, Danes, and Belgians are all sending transport planes made by American companies. The C-17 Globemaster III, used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force, is made by Boeing and the C-130 Hercules is made by Lockheed Martin.
There have been concerns that the French intervention could lead to terrorist attacks in Europe, concerns that seem justified in light of recent warnings from the Taliban. France has tightened security since the start of the intervention, a move that included sending 700 troops to Paris.
French President François Hollande has said that he doesn’t want France to have a permanent presence in Mali and that French troops will leave once an African force is ready to take over. Officials from ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) will finalize their plans relating to Mali on Friday. Only after the plans are made will Hollande get a better idea of how long French troops will be staying in Mali.