|UK French co-operation in Africa (Copyright MOD)|
|French vehicles in an RAF C17 (Copyright MOD)|
The final challenge the French will face is determining the point at which they can withdraw from kinetic military operations and instead focus on capacity building. It is ever more challenging to draw a clear line marking the end of war, and start of peace. In Mali, they appear to be having rapid success now against a rebel force which posses little in the way of heavy anti-armour capability, but what happens if there is a proliferation of IEDs or other such capabilities? The French may well find themselves having won a ‘war’ but sucked into a very bloody ‘peace’ without a clear end state. The real worry may be that having extracted themselves from Afghanistan, they now find themselves embroiled in a conflict in their traditional sphere of influence, but with no easy means of extraction, and no clear path to ‘victory’.