Retours sur Sangaris. Entre stabilisation et protection des civils Focus stratégique, No. 67, April 2016
In December 2013, France launched its operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic. What conclusions can be drawn for the stabilization of the country and the protection of civilians?
In December 2013, a decade-long political crisis in the Central African Republic descended into an aggravated civil war giving reasons to fear for mass violence along communal lines. In order to prevent further chaos, United Nations mandated France to engage in a military intervention, its seventh in this country since 1960. As a bridging operation, Sangaris aimed at setting the right conditions for the EU and UN peacekeeping missions to provide longer term security and development guidance. More than two years after its start, time has come to assess operation Sangaris’ military effectiveness in the light of the limited means it was allocated. To some extent, the operation showed how lack of resources could be offset by tactical and operational adaptations. Nevertheless, such adjustments are not risk-free and may decrease operational sustainability. The second key issue is the protection of civilians. When resources are limited, “protecting means choosing”, i.e. confronting difficult dilemmas that political and military decision-makers need to be aware of before engaging in such tasks.
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