Operation ‘Serval’: A Strategic Analysis of the French Intervention in Mali, 2013–2014

Sergei Boeke LL.M. 1 Sep 2015
 

In this Article published in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Leiden University’s Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism Researchers and ICCT Research Fellow Sergei Boeke and Bart Schuurman discuss the French military intervention in Mali, launched in 2013. Using a Clausewitzian analytical framework, this article provides an assessment of France’s political and military aims in Mali and the degree to which they have been attained. Clear political goals, coordinated international diplomacy, an effective use of military force and blunders by the rebel forces turned ‘Serval’ into a short-term success. Strategically, however, the mission has proven unable to address the conflict’s underlying causes. Serval’s long-term effect is probably better measured by what it prevented than what it contributed.

 

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