PARIS – France’s military intervention in Mali is proceeding apace, with the recent fall of Timbuktu representing a significant milestone in the effort to rout the Islamist rebels who took control of the north of the country. More broadly, the intervention’s apparent success underscores three key points.
First, it confirms that France retains the ability to act as Europe’s prime mover. France has a large and rapidly deployable military force, as it demonstrated in Libya in 2011. Furthermore, this military capability is tied to a worldview, rather than just to the defense of economic interests.