Is Mali Another Loss for Counterinsurgency?
The world’s most powerful nations continue to struggle over how to defeat extremists, often a minority faction that can destabilize entire nations – from Afghanistan in Central Asia to Mali in Africa. The strategies range from those small in scale, including intelligence collection, deployment of special forces, use of drones and working with local forces, to a heavy military presence, including the dispatch of thousands of troops, protecting populations and political institutions while training local forces. Max Fisher argues that the US had a “pre-counterinsurgency” effort in place in northern Africa, training local police and soldiers in security measures. Yet security declined as trainees defected, transferring intelligence and equipment to the extremists. France has become impatient. “The French military is expanding a unilateral intervention into Mali, a former colony in West Africa, to roll back the Islamist extremists who had already seized half the country,” notes Max Fisher for the Washington Post. The US has questioned the French operation, suggesting it could attract extremists from far and wide. – YaleGlobal