Mali

French Officials Revise Schedule for Withdrawal From Mali

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Credit: azko3/flickr

The Associated Press is reporting that according to French officials French forces in Mali will be in their former colony until at least July.

The French intervention in Mali began on January 11 this year. By the end of January French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was saying that French troops would be leaving Mali "quickly."

By the beginning of February French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that French troops would begin their withdrawal from Mali in a matter of weeks. A week ago Reuters reported that the French chief of the defense staff admiral Edouard Guillaud believed that French troops could begin their withdrawal in this month, despite an attack in the northern town of Gao. 

Shortly after the French intervention began an American State Department official said that the French should expect the intervention to take years, not weeks as French officials had initially hoped.

Given that French involvement in the war in Mali is taking longer than French officials had originally predicted it looks like the Canadian government was right to be wary of "another Afghanistan" when debating to what extent they would get involved in the intervention.

Soon after the French intervention began it had popular support, with 75 percent of respondents to one poll saying that they supported the intervention. Although President Hollande did enjoy a boost in support after the intervention it looks like the increased support was short-lived, Reuters reported yesterday that Hollande is the least popular French president in 30 years.  

If the American experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq are any indicators it is likely that the longer the French stay in Mali the more unpopular the intervention will become. 

French officials are now in the unenviable position of choosing between staying in Mali for longer than expected, and facing a possible public backlash as a result, or leaving Mali before political stability is restored. The French have been in Mali for almost two months, and while Islamic militants have been pushed back fighting continues in the northeast of Mali and many Malian refugees do not want to return home.

As with the war in Afghanistan the conflict in Mali involves an opposition that is defined by ideology, not nationality, making victory difficult to describe and declare. How many more times the French extend their stay in Mali in search of this sort of victory remains to be seen, but it should come as no surprise when French officials realize much of what they hope to achieve in Mali is either unrealistic or will require a mission that will take much longer than they initially expected. 

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  1. Given that French involvement in the war in Mali is taking longer than French officials had originally predicted

    What? The no-muss/no-fuss Frenchkrieg didn’t go off as expected? Shocking?

    Hollande’s rating fell by 5 points in February in the monthly poll to 30 percent

    I’m sure French voters will forget all about this the next time they vote to destroy themselves. It’s like the country is cutting itself.

    1. Quelle surprise!

    2. It’s not malicious. It’s malidelicious!

  2. It seems like countries never learn the lessons history teaches. I know, “it’ll be different this time.”

    1. Well, yeah. I mean, things only went wrong in the past because the wrong people were in charge. We’re in charge now. We’re not like them. We’ll get it right. And stuff.

      1. People who don’t try things simply because those things failed once before shouldn’t be in a position where their decisions are important. People who can’t evaluate a past failure and modify at least some small part also should not be in a position where their decisions are important.

        1. Yeah but when those failures are a massive body of historical evidence that “hey let’s roll into this foreign country and spruce the place up a bit” never ever ever fucking works, people in derpcision-making positions can be forgiven for being overcautious.

          Y’know, if they ever thought twice before invading.

          1. Why would they think twice or even give a shit? They’re not the ones who pay the price. And just think if they were the first ones in history to be successful! They’d be immortal! Unlike all the people killed in their bullshit quest for fame. But fuck those people, they’re peons and sociopaths don’t care about anyone but themselves anyway.

          2. Not saying you’re wrong, but do you think no modern force should try to invade Russia in the winter because it failed monumentally in the past? The thing about technological advances are they make so many more things possible than ever were before. You can’t just say “Well, it failed before so fuck it.” Rather, you could, but differences really have to be evaluated.

            1. Sparky, I wasn’t speaking from a technological standpoint, more from a

              As with the war in Afghanistan the conflict in Mali involves an opposition that is defined by ideology, not nationality, making victory difficult to describe and declare.

              So how do you know you have won?

              And with global warming, invading Russia in the winter should be much easier now.

              1. So how do you know you have won?

                When everyone is dead.

              2. So how do you know you have won?

                Kill them all. Democracy shall know its own.

              3. Yes, I understand that you can’t bomb the ideas out of a group of people. The only way to eliminate an ideology is to kill everyone that believes in it. My point was more of a rebuttal to the whole “it’ll be different this time, derp” thinking.

            2. Yeah the Russians now have a shitload of nukes. Probably not the best example.

              1. Yeah the Russians now have a shitload of nukes. Probably not the best example.

                It’s fine to prove the point that you wouldn’t stay out because you were worried about having forces mired in the mud with your supply lines cutoff.

                1. Eh, even with modern tech, logistics in a Russian war would be an incredible challenge. Russia is so fucking big.

        2. There is a difference between learning from the past and simply ignoring it.

    2. Not to worry. They have a totally failproof plan to wipe out the militants at this place called Dien Bien Phu.
      If that fails, well, the Americans will step in…

  3. French officials are now in the unenviable position of choosing between staying in Mali for longer than expected, and facing a possible public backlash as a result, or leaving Mali before political stability is restored.

    It’s not a hard choice if you know what a sunk cost is.

    1. It’s not a hard choice if you know what a sunk cost is.

      But we don’t want our brave soldiers’ deaths to be in vain.

      /wartard

    2. “I can’t stop gambling until I get back what I’ve lost.”

  4. Apropos of nothing, it just occurred to me that France has nuclear weapons.

    1. Okay. Okay, hear me out on this.

      Broken Windows + North African Glass Factory = Stimulus!

      1. I believe that the prevailing economic thinking today would agree.

        Me, I’m not that sophisticated, so I’m totally appalled.

  5. Didn’t read the article, but I assume that “July” target is July 2023, right?

  6. The people that runs governments get the supreme satisfaction of telling everyone what to do. And when that job ends, they retire to a cushy lobbying position that makes lots of bucks. The sons and daugthers of these people never have to serve in combat. So there is no cost to the desicion-makers, only rewards.

    So we have one fucking war after another.

    1. Kinnath, why do you hate the poor, ignorant heathen so? Would you have people of Mali suffer and die in unbelief, having never heard the glories gospels of democracy? It is our responsibility, nah, the responsibility of the entire democratized world, to engage in holy jihad against the unbelievers until they submit and acknowledge that there is no government but Democracy and Taxation is its holiest rite.

      1. Would you have people of Mali suffer and die in unbelief, . . .

        Yes

        1. Lesser Breeds without the Law?

          /Kipling off

          1. Or Greater Breeds with different laws.

            Either way, not my problem.

          2. For heathen heart that puts her trust
            In reeking tube and iron shard?
            All valiant dust that builds on dust,
            And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
            For frantic boast and foolish word,
            Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

  7. Looks like they are going to need our help, after all, just like I predicted.

    Now we need to get on down there and create some more turrurists by making more folks hate our guts, turrurists are in short supply, and people will lose their jerbz if the drone factory has to stop production. Can’t have that.

  8. Haha… Feeney is trying to call it a failure after just 2 months. Yeah, French people will likely grow tired of its Mali intervention. So what? If there are violent Islamists in the world there are violent Islamists in the world.

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