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RobWilliams January 13th, 2013 10:15 AM

Mali Crisis
Not having access to a TV, recent reports about France engaging in Mali was very surprising.

Following the recent escalation with the intervention of the French armed forces in Mali, there has been the death of a French Gazelle pilot which was part of 4th RHFS. Supposedly there are currently 3 French tankers, 6 M2000D & 2 Mirage F1CR deployed in the region conducting airstrikes with Rafales held in reserve and the deployment of 'hundreds' of French soldiers to the region.

The UK has also offered the services of 2 C-17s following a French request, with suggestions from the Minister for Africa suggesting the UK train Mali soldiers. The first reported by SkyNews to be leaving this afternoon.

Atasas January 13th, 2013 11:48 AM


RobWilliams January 13th, 2013 12:29 PM

I didn't include the hostage rescue because it didn't happen in Mali, not even close, it happened on the other side of the continent.

The raid was conducted 50 miles from Mogadishu, Somalia. I don't feel that events over 3000km away are particularly well linked to this particular crisis, but that could just be me.

EDIT: Nor - AFAIK - are the 2 events even linked as you described. The French agent was captured in 2009, the current problems in Mali are a direct result of a mutiny of elements of the Malian military (and I think AQ?) and overthrowing the Government and that I believe stemmed from Tuareg conflict (fighting for an independent Tuareg region I think) in early 2012. That's my - very basic - understanding of what lead up to the current events, nothing to do with the capture of a French agent thousands of miles away.

But i'd gladly be educated on all of this, learning is good.

StobieWan January 13th, 2013 12:48 PM


Originally Posted by Atasas (Post 258020)
Could add, that Operation is following disastrous hostage operation
UK is only sending 2 transport planes

Which is two more than France has to spare and two more than anyone else is helping out with. That's good global reach being demonstrated right there I think.

kato January 13th, 2013 03:16 PM


Originally Posted by RobWilliams (Post 258019)
Supposedly there are currently 3 French tankers, 6 M2000D & 2 Mirage F1CR deployed in the region

These units are the regular complement of the French air base at N'Djamena in Chad. During the first day sorties were flown by four Mirage 2000D and two of the KC-135 tankers, with the other aircraft held in reserve. Usually only one or two tankers are stationed at N'Djamena.

There are additionally one C-160 and one C-130 there currently, which have been used to ferry in the ground troops France had in Mali yesterday (one company of 21e RIMa and one platoon of 1er REC; an extra company of 2eme RIMa has since been ferried into Mali). These aircraft are also part of the usual complement.


Originally Posted by RobWilliams (Post 258019)
the death of a French Gazelle pilot which was part of 4th RHFS.

The helicopter raid, if you read between the lines, was a botched affair in which both participating Gazelles were damaged by concentrated small arms fire (wounding one pilot who later died) and broke off the attack after damaging or destroying four vehicles of the convoy.

Atasas January 13th, 2013 06:12 PM


Atasas January 13th, 2013 06:17 PM


StobieWan January 14th, 2013 06:19 AM


Originally Posted by Atasas (Post 258029)
Point taken!
My, kinda frustrated opinion was based on coalition being... unless driven by US "very fragmented" as to say... one might get the idea, that since piracy issue got more "manageable", interconnected security cooperation would be little more spread

No worries - I just get ticked off whenever we (the UK) pull off something that's relatively difficult or using capabilities not a lot of countries fund and folk act like we're slacking. For a tiny dot off the coast of Europe, we do a lot, y'know :)

Atasas January 14th, 2013 07:08 AM


S0S0 January 14th, 2013 08:27 AM

It seems the AU is good for nothing, they should have given military backing to the embattled Malian govt, but they are busy bickering about it. This is another reason why RSA should invest more on the defence force because such situations call for a resolute response to the need at hand. I’m not discounting the fact the SANDF is bit over stretched at the moment with peace keeping missions in Darfur, Burundi, CAR, battalion deployment to the Mozambican channel plus a frigate and Congo DR, but this Malian siege has been going on for sometime now with no prompt reaction either the continental or international community.
In light of the above and with increased coupes in the continent, the sandf is dismally armed, the army needs the following hardware ,as Swerve put it on the earlier post…

The Navy needs to be given the funding to:

• Acquire sufficient offshore patrol vessels of adequate size to be able to conduct effective patrols of South Africa’s EEZ, assist other SADC countries and complement the frigate in the anti-piracy role.

• Acquire two additional frigates or large ocean patrol vessels of similar general capability, to enable it to maintain an effective presence in the Mozambique Channel for extended periods.

• Acquire a second support ship, to make sustained regional patrol operations practicable.

• Acquire landing platforms, to enable it to deploy a light mechanised battalion group or similar force and supporting helicopters in a single lift, and to support that force until logistic support can be established.
Over and above we need troop carriers, the govt has been bickering on the decision for ages and now this requirement is starting to bite. In spite of this, the Sandf had to deploy a very small battalion in CAR on a chartered flight to try and wrestle the rebels there.

Toptob January 14th, 2013 12:32 PM

@RobWilliams: Thx I was waiting for this thread! The action in Somalia could have something to do with the Malian crisis. I have read analyses that say the Somalia action could have been done out of fear that he would be killed as retaliation for the actions in Mali. This seems logical, but islamist groups hold many more hostages so to me its a bit of a stretch.

@S0S0: What has that to do with this topic?

Does anyone know if France is planning to send reinforcements to Mali? Rafales, legionaires etc. ?

RobWilliams January 14th, 2013 02:10 PM

According to CBC, the French Govt has said that the 2 events are not linked. Even if the idea of hostage rescue was done for fear of retaliation against actions on Mali then there are far better options within Mali itself, the Washington Post claims that there are at least 7 French hostages held in Mali for exactly the reason you describe


The Mali-based extremists, for instance, hold seven French hostages and threatened retaliation for Hollande’s willingness to dispatch French soldiers to help restore Malian state authority.

Four French hostages captured in September 2010 at a northern Niger uranium mine and two abducted in northern Mali in November 2010 are held by the region’s main Islamist group, the mainly Algerian al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). A seventh French citizen was taken into custody two montehs ago on the Mali-Nigeria border by the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, an AQMI spinoff.
France fails to free intelligence agent held captive in Somalia - The Washington Post

I have heard the figure of 7 hostages thrown around somewhere else, I just did a quick google for a quick reference. It's also referenced in The Independent & the FT at a quick glance. The FT also gives an interesting snippet that in terms of troops France is building up to 2,500 from 500.

Hollande Mali plan upended by rebel push -

The scenario you describe is totally legitimate, but IMO if you wanted to rescue targets to prevent reprisals you would pick the targets in the country. But like I say, supposedly the French have come out and said they are not related.

EDIT: Couple of updates too.

Canada has offered a C-17 to France for a week to help support operations


The Canadian government is offering logistical aid to beleaguered Mali as it struggles to beat back advances by Islamist rebels.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said for now the assistance will consist of one week’s use of a Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 heavy lift transport plane.
Ottawa offers use of military plane to beleaguered Mali - The Globe and Mail

According to this French link, the current French air force component over Mali now is 5 tankers, 4 Rafale - 3 B & 1 C, 6 M2000D & 2 FCR1

Mali : les Rafale en renfort - Air&Cosmos

Atasas January 14th, 2013 06:02 PM


RobWilliams January 14th, 2013 07:04 PM

Well, no. It's not a case of "belief" at all. If a particular media story has a credible source for actions which have happened - like the French/Canadian Governments - then (to me) that's perfectly fine considering actions which have happened can't be warped like suppositions can.

To cast doubt over media releases purely because it's the media without actually reading what's in it is particularly foolhardy IMO . The Telegraph very recently reported that one of the UK's C-17s experienced a technical fault on take off and it's departure was delayed, should I be sceptical about that because it's from the media?

If the French Government says the 2 events are unrelated, than that's good enough for me. I'd absolutely love to see some evidence to the contrary, anything else is just speculation pure and simple. Like I said, there are hostages that need rescuing in Mali itself, wouldn't they be more in danger from nasty people retaliating from action in Mali?

French government says Somalia raid not linked to Mali operation | Reuters

There must have been a connection because of the timing? I remember an instance where the UK deployed it's RFTG to the Med, some people I talked to in the UK were absolutely convinced we were going into action in Syria because 'the timing was just too good' due to a couple of events, what happened in the end? Sweet FA, I believe the same to be the the case here.

Atasas January 16th, 2013 08:11 PM


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