An Cosantóir

April 2013

An Cosantóir the official magazine of the Irish Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 24 of 39

| 25 A French military armoured vehicle is unloaded from a British C17, plane after it landed at Bamako airport, Mali. (AP Photo/SAC Dek Taylor, MOD) Defence Forces personnel in pre Mali training in the Curragh. (Cpl Colum Lawlor, DF Photographer, PR Branch) However, in the nearby town of Diabaly Islamic fighters fought running street battles with French and Malian troops. In an attempt to cut off and encircle the insurgents, French paratroopers were dropped into towns that were considered strategically important. Helicopter gunships provided air support and after a number of gun battles and strategic air strikes, the militants were forced to fall back and vacate their positions. At the time of writing, fighting is currently taking place in the area along the Algerian border where insurgents have adopted guerrilla tactics and are using the mountainous regions of the Adrar des Ifoghas as their area of operations. In spite of some initial successes, French military sources acknowledged that they faced a long fight against well-equipped and determined militants and appear to be concerned that France may become bogged down in a war of attrition. However, according to the French defence minister, JeanYves Le Drian, the French government is determined to shatter any hold that extremists may have on Mali and is working closely with the United States, which has operated a counterterrorism training programme in the region. France���s call for international support has been answered by a number of countries who have offered logistical and training support. Nigeria will be sending 900 troops as part of the 3,300-strong West African force and others will soon follow suit. The UK has already provided two C-17 transport aircraft and the Pentagon is contributing transport aircraft, air refuelling tankers and on-the-ground intelligence. Belgium is contributing transport aircraft and a medevac helicopter. Canada, Germany and Denmark are also contributing transport aircraft. In Ireland Minister for Defence Alan Shatter has been granted permission by the government to contribute members of the Defence Forces to a planned EU training mission in Mali. Working with members of the British Army in a combined training contingent, they will be responsible for providing Malian armed forces with military training and advice, according to an official EU press release. In relation to the operation, Minister Shatter said: ���Alongside standard infantry training, training will also be provided in international humanitarian law, the protection of civilians and human rights.��� The proposed EU training mission to Mali will be deployed in four teams, each comprising 24 trainers. It is expected that with the inclusion of force protection and administrative elements the overall deployment will consist of an estimated 500 personnel. Defence Forces personnel deploying to Mali will know they face tough challenges, but their experience and training will contribute greatly to what many believe is going to be a very difficult mission. About the author: Paul O���Brien MA is an Irish historian, author and regular contributor to An Cosant��ir. He has published four books on 1916;- ���Blood on the Streets: 1916 and the Battle for Mount Street Bridge���, ���Uncommon Valour: 1916 and the Battle for the South Dublin Union���, ���Cross���re: The Battle of the Four Courts 1916��� and ���Field Of Fire: The Battle Of Ashbourne 1916���. His fifth book ���Shootout: The Battle for St Stephen���s Green 1916��� is due out shortly. the defence forces magazine

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of An Cosantóir - April 2013