EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY SCORECARD 2015

Peacekeeping

62 - Mali

Grade: C+
Unity 3/5
Resources 3/5
Outcome 3/10
Total 9/20
Scorecard 2013: C+ (10/20)
Scorecard 2014: B (13/20)

France and the UN struggled to stem a resurgence of violence.

The security situation in Mali deteriorated in 2014, reversing the gains that followed the French intervention in 2013. French forces continue to target Islamist groups in the north of the country and Paris has reorganised its military presence in West Africa to focus on counter-terrorist operations. But the Islamists, able to take advantage of chaos in southern Libya, have proved unexpectedly resilient.

Parallel EU and UN missions have tried to assist the Malian government. The EU has focused on training the army, but the government insisted on launching a premature offensive against separatists in the north in May and sustained a defeat. The UN mission has also had difficult relations with the government, which is very keen to avoid international meddling in its affairs.

A number of European countries are involved in the UN force. The Dutch have sent attack helicopters and special forces and have cooperated with Nordic countries to set up an advanced intelligence cell. These are unusually high-grade assets for a UN mission in Africa, but the mission as a whole remains poorly equipped and has been slow to deploy in the north due to logistical limitations. Poorly equipped African units have been easy targets for the Islamists and over 30 peacekeepers have been killed (to date, no European UN troops have died, although the more aggressive French commandos have suffered fatalities).

By the last quarter of the year, the Security Council was debating options to strengthen the UN further. Sweden has readied a significant contribution of specialist personnel for 2015. But it will be hard to isolate Mali from wider currents of instability in the region, including not only southern Libya but also northern Nigeria, where European governments – notably the UK – are backing the campaign against Boko Haram. Mali and its neighbours are almost certain to suffer more serious violence in 2015.