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Operation Serval -A Showcase for the Rafale

Written by on Thursday, June 27th, 2013

If someone asked you to find the country of Mali on a map, could you? Have you ever heard of the country of “Mali”? Do you know of its turbulent history? Have you ever heard of Operation Serval? If you answered “no” to the above questions, then you are among a large majority of the world that has little to no knowledge of the battle that threatened to tip the balance of power in western Africa into the hands of Al Qaeda and radical Muslims.

The background on this conflict drifts back decades where a large group of nomads of the Saharan desert called the Tuareg, asserted that they were being poorly treated in Mali and that large uranium mining projects had damaged important pastoral areas. The Tuareg had staged previous unsuccessful rebellions in 1990 and 2007, but after receiving training and arms from Libyan ruler Gadaffi and receiving initial support from al Qaeda jihadists from Algeria, the Tuareg were able to successfully capture and control the main towns north of the Niger River in Mali but shortly after parted ways with the al Qaeda jihadists due to different objectives. While the Tuareg wanted independence from Mali in the north, al Qaeda wanted to conquer cities and grow their movement.  After taking control of several key cities the President of Mali sought out support from the United Nations and Resolution 2085 was enacted to call for an African-led force to help the Malian army restore the territorial integrity of its country.

On January 8th 2013, a large buy online valium column of jihadists moved south of the Niger River toward Bamako, the Malian capital and the French came to the aid of the Malians. The French have a long history with Mali and were best suited for combat operations in the area due to proximity of a Special Forces unit stationed in a neighboring country and thus started Operation Serval. Operation Serval consisted of a quick reaction to the defense of Bamako, an offensive movement to recapture the towns north of the Niger River and a clearing offensive to uproot terrorist sanctuaries in the Ifoghas Mountains. Operation Serval combined the French Special Forces, French airborne and armored units and close air support provided by the French aircraft, the Rafale. The Rafale was able to support combat operations with over 800 missions and carried laser and GPS guided weapons to target al Qaeda  forces in Mali from air bases in France. The Rafale was able to conduct numerous refueling operations in support of strike missions in and around the Niger River and with a strong ground attack were able to thwart any further aggressions from the al Qaeda combatants.

Operation Serval was deemed a very successful military operation and was conducted with such speed and ferocity that the al Qaeda forces were forced to retreat. The Rafale 4th Generation strike aircraft proved itself very capable of supporting ground troops and employing weapons and once again demonstrated the might of western power against the radical Muslim forces of al Qaeda.

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