News ID: 266540
Published: 0605 GMT March 04, 2020

Confusion and controversy bedevils UK’s planned Mali deployment

Confusion and controversy bedevils UK’s planned Mali deployment

There is growing controversy about Britain’s planned deployment of 250 troops to Mali later this year, which has been widely described as the most dangerous since the UK’s military intervention in Afghanistan.

The Times’ defence editor, Lucy Fisher, tweeted that the government’s plan to deploy additional forces to the Sahel region has caused “grave concerns” among “senior British personnel”, Presstv Reported.

According to Fisher, one major source of confusion centres on the logic behind the UK's decision to attach forces to the United Nations "peacekeeping" mission in Mali when there are already British forces seconded to the separate French-led "combat" mission in the West African country.

Fisher quotes one of her Whitehall sources as describing Mali as “hugely complex and messy” and claiming that there hasn’t been “sufficient parliamentary scrutiny” of the planned British deployment.

Meanwhile, Tory MP, and a member of the influential foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons, Bob Seely, told the Telegraph (March 02) that Britain’s “looming intervention” in the Sahel has “slipped under the radar”.

In addition to inadequate scrutiny, Seely warns against “generational missions” which owing to insufficiently defined combat objectives run the risk of never ending.

As controversy and confusion mounts, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is refusing to engage honestly with the critics and detractors of the planned Mali mission.

In an arrogant and self-righteous tweet, the MoD claimed there had been “misleading” reporting on the Mali deployment.

The Tweet has further enraged the planned mission’s critics. The Times’ Fisher described it as a “poor, cowardly attempt at spin”. 

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