The France reorganized its military presence in the Sahel around four bases
Jan 26, 2014
This is a huge field of operations as large as Europe, but almost entirely desert. “Armed terrorist groups” (GAT, according to military acronym) that travel does not know national boundaries, with a line drawn by former colonial administrations in the middle of … nothing. As his enemies, the French army, which is at the forefront in the war against the jihadists in the Sahel, decided to abstract these boundaries. To this end, the Ministry of Defence in depth reorganizes its military presence in Africa.This “regionalization of the Sahel” is being implemented: no ads mirobolantes but a discrete adjustment work here are the highlights.
Everything starts with an analysis of the threat after defeating – but not entirely removed – TGA in northern Mali in the first half of 2013, the French army and intelligence services, not surprisingly, found that these were, in part, scattered in neighboring states. Particularly in the south-western Libya, where has been a real “safe black hole” in the Fezzan around the triangle Oubari-Sebha-Mourzouk. It is from this base that the jihadists back back north Mali – nineteen of them were killed during a special operation in December – and Niger, where a significant terrorist act has recently been thwarted. The GAT borrow a line more than a thousand kilometers, after the pass of El Salvador, following the border between Niger and Algeria. The tracks also borrowed going well on the Algerian territory that Nigerian. France’s strategy is to cut the jihadists their rear base in Libya, where it is impossible to speak openly.
For the French military, three states in the region now form a single theater Mali, Niger and Chad.Their three governments involved in the fight against terrorism and cooperate with France.
In the region, France will have four main bases: N’Djamena (Chad), Niamey (Niger), Gao (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). A N’Djamena: combat aircraft Rafale and Mirage 2000, supported by tankers and ground forces – and the staff who will control operations in the Sahel. In Niamey, intelligence assets, including two new Reaper drones purchased in the United States and will be operational in the coming days. These monitoring devices controlled from the ground in Niamey are collocated with those of the U.S. Air Force. This base can also accommodate combat aircraft and Atlantique 2 maritime patrol, used both above the desert of the ocean. In Gao, land forces, with a large helicopter detachment. Finally, more discreetly, in Ouagadougou, the group of special forces Sabre operates throughout the area from the rear base. These four main bases, the French army will add support points further north, that is to say, closer to possible interception areas of terrorist groups. Two of them were chosen: Tessalit, in the far north of Mali, and Faya-Largeau in northern Chad. Another is still being sought in the north-eastern Niger, knowing that special forces are already present in the Arlit mining (northwest) area. These support points must have airstrip, even briefly, for depositing light vehicle or implement helicopters. Not to mention the collection of intelligence, human or electronic … In total, this device in the Sahel mobilize 3,000 French soldiers permanently with air assets nearly thirty aircraft (fighter, transport, helicopters, drones, etc).
The whole of this new device, which has not received baptism generic name, will be supported by three rear bases in Africa: Dakar (Senegal), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Libreville (Gabon). To compensate for the rise in the Sahelian zone, the number of Dakar and Libreville and those of Djibouti will be revised downwards. The abandonment of Abidjan, a time considered, is no longer valid, quite the contrary. Logistical role is even considered as a priority towards the Sahel. Djibouti, turned to another theater of operations – including Somalia – will see its numbers continue to decline.Relations between France and Djibouti government are no longer what they were … A regiment, the 13th DBLE has already left the country to settle in the United Arab Emirates.
In total, about 6,000 French soldiers who remain active in Africa, permanently, half the Sahel. That’s a lot. More so than any other Western country. The idea to withdraw from the continent, caressed in the drafting of the previous White Paper of Defence (2008), fizzled. France remains more than ever, a permanent African military power far beyond operations decided by François Hollande, Serval Sangaris Mali and the Central African Republic.