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Old 12-07-2013   #361
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Not sure if this link was already posted and buried (quick search fails me), but
ten minutes of Urban Three-Stoogery with AKs is worth the repost.

Bonus hilarity at the 5.20 mark: Private Einstein, part of a team sent to the building where snipers are suspected to be on the roof, empties a magazine down towards his comrades. Said team has no direct commo with it's command group). This video so needs to be set to music.

Quote:
Ground Zero - Mali was shot in Gao, Mali, on February 21, 2013. It's basically the first legitimate combat footage to come out of the war there. Normally the French ban journalists from the frontlines and film a sanitized version of the fighting themselves and then distribute it to the media.

In this case, the insurgents came to us: they slipped into Gao overnight on small boats and used suicide bombers to blast their way into government buildings. The French left the fighting to the Malian army for most of the day as a test of their combat abilities. Malian soldiers, while very brave, are almost completely untrained and had great difficulty fighting less than a dozen jihadists, some of whom were children. They fired wild bursts of automatic fire everywhere, destroying the city center. The Malians soon ran out of ammunition and had to wait for the French to show up and save the day.
http://www.vice.com/ground-zero/mali
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Old 12-07-2013   #362
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As with the prey of South African snipers in the DRC recently pathetic excuses for soldiers such as these can be taken out systematically and can be held off indefinitely. Obviously these insurgents can't shoot either.

Moving down an open road is not bravery... is is idiocy


Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamG View Post
Not sure if this link was already posted and buried (quick search fails me), but
ten minutes of Urban Three-Stoogery with AKs is worth the repost.

Bonus hilarity at the 5.20 mark: Private Einstein, part of a team sent to the building where snipers are suspected to be on the roof, empties a magazine down towards his comrades. Said team has no direct commo with it's command group). This video so needs to be set to music.


http://www.vice.com/ground-zero/mali

Last edited by JMA; 12-07-2013 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 12-08-2013   #363
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Default Not winning "hearts & minds"

An AP report on the murder of Tuareg's who remained in the towns re-captured and handed over to the Malian military:http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268778/con...tguid=csYdabdI

Incidentally I noted with amazement that the Malian military, in the two film clips, relied upon mobile-phones for comms.
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Old 04-17-2014   #364
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http://www.cdef.terre.defense.gouv.f...eration-serval
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Old 04-17-2014   #365
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Fuchs,

A good catch the official French post-action report, which does have an English summary.

I'd missed that what appear to be lorry-borne heavy artillery was deployed and the logistic aspect is covered.
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Old 04-17-2014   #366
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Fuchs,

A good catch the official French post-action report, which does have an English summary.

I'd missed that what appear to be lorry-borne heavy artillery was deployed and the logistic aspect is covered.
I get their newsletter, automated my 'catching' here.

Language barriers are troublesome, so I make a conscious effort to penetrate them.
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Old 04-18-2014   #367
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Question Re: Newsletter

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Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
I get their newsletter, automated my 'catching' here.

Language barriers are troublesome, so I make a conscious effort to penetrate them.
Could you provide us with a link for that?
I could be of help with the language.

Happy Easter to all, in whichever way you celebrate it.
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Old 04-29-2014   #368
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Default Is AQ’s regional affiliate in West Africa dead, at least for now?

A short NYT article, which appears to be based on unofficial statements from French & US officials and not that we have not heard this language before:
Quote:
So the group that terrorized half a country, northern Mali, in the heart of West Africa for much of 2012, taking over its major towns, and threatening other nations in the region, has been reduced to a pale remnant of its former self. It is no longer the pre-eminent threat to the fragile states in West Africa’s Sahel region — the band of desert and semi-desert running just below the Sahara.
Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/wo...=tw-share&_r=1
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Old 05-19-2014   #369
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Default The Tuareg "have not gone away"

Via NYT:
Quote:
Separatist Tuareg rebels launched an assault on the city of Kidal in northern Mali over the weekend, killing eight soldiers, storming government buildings and taking 30 hostages in a “declaration of war” on the government, officials said Sunday.The attack was apparently prompted by a visit to Kidal on Saturday by the newly appointed prime minister, Moussa Mara, highlighting regional hostility toward the central government in Bamako and casting further doubt on the viability of reconciliation efforts in the wake of the turmoil experienced by the country since 2012.
Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/wo...hostages.html?

Noteworthy as IMHO the seperatist Tuareg have been quiet since the French-supported intervention. Almost a return to "normal" in Mali.
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Old 07-14-2014   #370
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Default Traffic control in The Sahel

An odd headline IMHO:
Quote:
France ends Mali offensive, redeploys troops to restive Sahel
Followed within by (slightly edited):
Quote:
The new "counter-terrorism" operation, codenamed Barkhan, will kick off in the coming days and is being implemented in partnership with five countries -- Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad -- Le Drian said.

He added that some 3,000 French soldiers would be part of the operation, 1,000 of whom would stay in northern Mali and the rest would be deployed in the other countries....which will have its headquarters in the Chadian capital N'Djamena

Link:http://news.yahoo.com/france-ends-ma...83027863.html?
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Old 08-25-2014   #371
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Default "Operation Barkhane"

Presented separately from the Mali thread, to highlight the unique aspects of this Operation.

Quote:
Operation Barkhane, named after a crescent-shaped sand dune, will involve the deployment of 3000 military personnel across the vast Sahel region, backed by six fighter jets, 20 helicopters and three drones. The mission will form a belt of French military presence in five northern African countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Niger and Mauritania.

Operation Barkhane will bring Operation Serval, the French military intervention in the north of Mali since January 2013, to a close.

The French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that with Operation Barkhane France will counter the threat of terrorism in the region. "There still is a major risk that jihadists develop in the area that runs from the Horn of Africa to Guinea-Bissau," he said.
22 July 2014
http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/201...nfluence-sahel

Quote:
Hollande has said the Barkhane force will allow for a "rapid and efficient intervention in the event of a crisis" in the region.

Hollande also stressed the importance of engagement by African forces.

Chadian President Idriss Deby agreed, saying it is not always France’s job to ensure security in the region, and Africans must also take charge.
http://m.france24.com/en/20140719-ho...n-west-africa/

Quote:
In terms of division of labor between France and the G5 Sahel, four permanent military bases have been established:

- headquarters and air force in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena under the leadership of French Général Palasset;

- a regional base in Gao, north Mali, with at least 1,000 men;

- a special-forces base in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou;

- an intelligence base in Niger’s capital, Niamey, with over 300 men; the air base of Niamey, is important as it hosts drones in charge of gathering intelligence across the entire Sahel-Saharan region;

- aside from the four permanent bases, several temporary bases will be created with an average of thirty to fifty men, where and when required.
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/...barkhane-11029

Quote:
At its core, Barkhane is intended to focus on cross-border security and to combating the threat of terrorism emerging from Islamist militants. By shifting toward a regional focus, and away from bi-lateral relationships, Palasset will gain valuable distance from internal politics within each of the partner states. This distance means flexibility, and further enhances Barkhane’squick deployment capabilities.

Palasset’s force is set to be provisioned as follows:

20 helicopters (assumedly a mix of Gazelle light attack helicopters, and transport Puma or and Cougar transport helicopters). It is unclear if Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters will be included in the mission force structure.
200 armoured vehicles (a mix of Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé (VABs), Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCIs), Engin de Reconnaissance à Canon de 90 mm (ERC 90s Sagaie’s);
ten dedicated transport/reconnaissance aircraft,
six fighter planes (Rafaele Mirage 2000’s)
three drones (Harfangs).
Quote:
“When the Sahel is threatened, Europe and France are threatened,” Hollande told French soldiers in Chad during a three day visit to West Africa in late July. While also pushing French trade, the president used the visit through Ivory Coast, Niger, and Chad to solidify support amongst these countries for Operation Barkhane. “There still is a major risk that jihadists develop in the area that runs from the Horn of Africa to Guinea-Bissau” says French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. “The aim is to prevent what I call the highway of all forms of traffics to become a place of permanent passage, where jihadist groups between Libya and the Atlantic Ocean can rebuild themselves, which would lead to serious consequences for our security.”
http://www.africandefence.net/operat...nder-the-hood/

Quote:
The existence of a single operational command in Chad (1 300 troops) for the whole Sahel is a new element. Operation Barkhane has a base in Mali (1 000 troops), an intelligence centre in Niger (300 soldiers) and a special forces centre in Burkina Faso. While Côte d’Ivoire (with its 550 troops) will serve as an operational base to support the deployment, the bases in Senegal (350 troops) and Gabon (450 troops) remain regional cooperation centres. Some 3 000 soldiers will be mobilised in a wider area of action to support the G5 members (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad)

France provides human, financial and logistical means, but this deployment, dedicated to the fight against armed terrorist groups, will not affect the French military’s traditional missions. Under military cooperation, African armies will continue to receive training and equipment to carry out joint actions with French troops. The presence and/or transit of French forces in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad are regulated by cooperation agreements that date back to the 1960s and have been updated since. Mauritania, for its part, signed an agreement with France to fight terrorism in November 2013.

Three priorities of France’s policy in Africa – Africanisation (supporting African capacities), Europeanisation (including French action in European policy) and multilateralism (for France to act in a multilateral framework, such as the United Nations) – have been adapted to the realities in the Sahel following the final declaration of the December 2013 Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa. However, with its intervention in Mali, France is alone on the Sahel front.
http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.ph...ace&Itemid=111


French Government website
http://www.defense.gouv.fr/operation...ation-barkhane
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Old 08-25-2014   #372
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Ooops.

Quote:
...if the French high command had thought more about the etymology of the word, it might have gone for another animal name.

The word barkhan is of Russian-Turkistan origin, said to have been coined by a Russian naturalist, Alexander von Middendorf, in 1881. The worrying aspect of it for France is not the Russian-Turkistan association, but the year 1881. While von Middendorf was busy coining the word barkhan for his dunes, France was experiencing a military nightmare in the middle of the Sahara.

The story of the disastrous Flatters expedition of 1880-81 is imprinted on the French colonial psyche, partly because of the absurdity of the project, partly because of its foolhardy planning and leadership, but mostly for its gruesome and grizzly details, which so shocked France that a halt was placed on further colonial penetration into the Sahara for almost 20 years.

Flatters set out from Ouargla in November 1880 at the head of a mixed column of over 90 men to reconnoitre a route for a railway across the Sahara. Such a grandiose scheme, designed to bring France closer to her Sahelian and West Africa territories, had been given impetus by the Americans succeeding in building a railway across their continent 11 years earlier.

The eve of their departure was celebrated with a grand dinner and the finest champagne, but also much nervousness, as local Chaamba tribesmen warned that they would run into trouble if they tried to enter Tuareg territory.

As the column headed south, Tuareg drew Flatters deeper into their country, before dividing his force at a water hole and massacring half of them. The column had got to within 200 kms of today’s border with Niger. The survivors were allowed to escape, but only for the Tuareg to play cat and mouse with them.

First, Tuareg offered them dates that had been crushed with efelehleh (Hyoscyamus muticus falezlez), one of the world’s most deadly plants. Most of those who ate it died in delirium and agony. The survivors then watched the Tuareg decapitate three of their Chaamba guides (most of whom, knowing the ways of the Tuareg, had refused the dates), while their accompanying Tidjaniya mokhadem (holy man) was split with a single blow of a broadsword from head to hips.

The remaining survivors continued their desperate trudge northwards, with those falling asleep being killed and eaten, as cannibalism became the means of survival. The last surviving Frenchman, the ailing Sergeant Pobéguin, was shot and eaten after much discussion as to whether a Frenchmen should not be treated with more respect. On 4 April 1881, 11 half-dead Chaamba crawled into Ouargla to tell the tale.

Those involved in Operation Barkhan will not wish to be reminded of the symbolism and memories of 1881.
- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns....tes2FVkG.dpuf
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Old 12-24-2014   #373
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Andrew Lebovich is a SME on Mali, today his October commentary become free to read. His summary:
Quote:
Any political, security and economic arrangement to deal with Mali's crisis must be acceptable and amenable to local actors, yet international support and a regional arrangement are also necessary and inescapable.
Link:http://www.thebrokeronline.eu/Blogs/...tional-setting
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Old 01-14-2015   #374
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Andrew Lebovich is a SME on Mali, now has a commentary 'Pulling Apart at the Seams: How the Smuggling and Narcotics Trade Are Helping to Reshape Governance in the Sahel':http://www.fletchersecurity.org/#!lebovich/cqvl
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Old 01-24-2015   #375
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Default Apaches cause peace talks to falter

The Dutch have four Apache attack helicopters in Mali and they have fired their first shots, just as peace talks are underway in Algiers:http://af.reuters.com/article/morocc...V242Y20150123?
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Old 04-23-2015   #376
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Default US on duty deaths in a crash in Mali in 2012: update

Some light on this strange incident in 2012, subject of Post 147:

US on duty deaths in a crash in Mali Nor have events in Mali been without loss for the USA, edited down and dated 20th April 2012 (thanks to a SWC reader):
Quote:
Three American military personnel and three civilians died early Friday in a single-car crash in Mali's capital, U.S. officials said... one of the three Americans was from U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, and the two others were assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command. The military personnel were in Mali as part of a U.S. special operations training mission that was suspended after last month's coup overthrew the country's democratically elected president.
Link:http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/04...in-mali-crash/
Within a long article via Open Democracy on AFRICOM's faulty record:
Quote:
Three of the dead were American commandos. The driver, a captain nicknamed “Whiskey Dan,” was the leader of a shadowy team of operatives never profiled in the media and rarely mentioned even in government publications. One of the passengers was from an even more secretive unit whose work is often integral to Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which conducts clandestine kill-and-capture missions overseas. Three of the others weren’t military personnel at all or even Americans. They were Moroccan women alternately described as barmaids or "prostitutes."
The six deaths followed an April 2012 all-night bar crawl through Mali’s capital, Bamako, according to a formerly classified report by US Army criminal investigators.
The command, for example, issued a five-sentence press release regarding those deaths in Bamako. They provided neither the names of the Americans nor the identities of the “three civilians” who perished with them. They failed to mention that the men were with the Special Operations forces, noting only that the deceased were “US military members.” For months after the crash, the Pentagon kept secret the name of Master Sergeant Trevor Bast, a communications technician with the Intelligence and Security Command...
“It must be noted that the activities of US military forces in Mali have been very public,” Colonel Tom Davis of AFRICOM told TomDispatch in the wake of the deaths, without explaining why the commandos were still in the country a month after the United States had suspended military relations with Mali’s government. In the years since, the command has released no additional information about the episode.
Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/nick-t...behaving-badly

I know from previous comments on the author, Tom Engelhardt (and presumably the co-author Nick Turse) has a strong agenda and viewpoint.
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Old 05-15-2015   #377
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Default Touareg factions and a small war

A rare UK press report on Mali, it starts with:
Quote:
The worst violence between army troops and Touareg rebels in more than a year threatens to delay long-awaited accord, due to be signed today

(It ends with) Now, after over three years of civil war ordinary people in northern Mali are desperate for a return to security and normality, but a resolution is not yet in sight.
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-deal-violence
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