French Military Interventions in Africa
This chapter provides an account of recent French peacekeeping operations, under President François Hollande, in Mali (Operation Serval), the Sahel (Operation Barkhane), and the Central African Republic (CAR) (Operation Sangaris). French military engagement has provided security for governing elites in pro-French regimes, for French businesspeople, and for expatriates. This neo-colonial approach to security has evolved to include humanitarian intervention under the doctrine of the responsibility to protect (R2P). Now it includes the “war on terror”. But such mission creep dramatically overstretches French military capabilities. The chapter argues that this military overextension not only may result in French armed forces being unable to accomplish the peacekeeping goals of protecting civilians and preventing genocide, but also could leave France in a position so reduced that it will not be able to defend itself in the future.