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In January 2013, France intervened in its former African colony, Mali, to stop an Al Qa'ida advance on the capital. French special forces, warplanes, and army units struck with rapid and unexpected force. Their intervention quickly repelled the jihadist advance and soon the terrorists had been chased from their safe haven in Mali's desolate North - an impressive accomplishment. Although there have been many books on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are almost none on the recent military interventions of America's allies. Because it was quick, effective, and relatively low cost, the story contains valuable lessons for future strategy. Based on exclusive interviews with high-level civilian and military officials in Paris, Washington and Bamako, this book offers a fast-paced, concise, strategic overview of this war. As terrorist groups proliferate across North Africa, what France accomplished in Mali should be a key reference point for national security experts.Read more
- Provides key insights for future US counter-terrorism strategy in Africa and beyond
- A most nuanced description in English of Al Qa'ida's North African franchise and its complex relationships with other terrorist groups
- Provides a balanced assessment based on exclusive interviews with high-level French, Malian, and US civilian and military officials
- Fast-paced, highly readable prose is easily accessible to the general reader
Reviews & endorsements
"Well and comprehensively researched, using multiple interviews with key actors (including a former President of Mali and the French commanding general), The French War on Al Qa'ida in Africa provides a compelling analytical narrative of the important French mission in Mali since 2013. It will stand as a - if not the - major study in English of these important events."
Jolyon Howorth, Yale UniversitySee more reviews
"Following Toppling Qaddafi, his study of the Libyan air war, Chris Chivvis has produced another first-rate campaign history, this one of the lightning 2013 French campaign in Mali. Intervening as that country was about to fall to Al Qaeda-linked militants, French troops conducted a daring and unexpectedly successful operation the nature and significance of which Chivvis captures well in this excellent and highly readable account."
Ambassador James Dobbins, Distinguished Chair in Diplomacy and Security, RAND Corporation
"The best American analysis of Serval, this book fills the gap on how the United States judged the operation."
General Bernard Barrera, commander of French Forces in Mali during Serval
"An excellent one-stop analysis of a complex situation and successful intervention, focusing on the military but not limited to it. Chivvis's superbly informed book illustrates the rich potential of French-American exchanges on this subject."
Justin Vaïsse, Director for Policy Planning, French Foreign Ministry
"Chivvis provides an overview of the French military intervention against Salafi jihadists in northern Mali in 2013. His book is one of the first in English to explain the calculations of French military and political elites leading up to the intervention, and how the French organized and executed operations on the ground … Particularly informative are his descriptions of France’s coordination with its Western allies and its complex logistical operations involving its assets in the Sahel and West Africa … the writing is clear and jargon-free.”
B. L. Dillman, Choice
'Chivvis provides a strategic summary of this brief, yet apparently effective, campaign against the terrorist group, emphasising the lessons that he believes could help inform the broader fight against the spreading terrorist threat in North Africa.' Survival: Global Politics and Strategy
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- Date Published: December 2015
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107546783
- length: 242 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.34kg
- contains: 11 b/w illus. 8 maps 3 tables
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. France, Mali, and African jihad
2. Al Qa'ida's North African franchise
3. French security strategy in the age of kidnappings
4. Merah and Malistan
5. Leading Africa from behind
6. Crisis and opportunity
8. The elusive 'political' dimension
9. The road ahead.
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