L'opération Serval à l'épreuve du doute : vrais succès, fausses leçons Focus stratégique, No. 59, July 2015
The deployment of French forces to Mali in January 2013 with the objective to counter the offensive of jihadist groups from Northern Mali, demonstrated the French armed forces’ ability to deploy on a very short notice and to conduct a long-distance expeditionary operation by themselves in spite of their limited strategic capabilities.
The successful outcome of Serval can be explained through multiple factors such as forward basing, swift decision as well as execution of maneuver and good bilateral relations with the African states. This success should not however lead to downplay the capability shortfalls that were also illustrated by the operation in terms of strategic lift, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and the political capability to settle an internal conflict whose outcome remains uncertain.
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