The deployment of a single British spy plane to the French invasion of Mali seems minor, on the surface, but analysts say that it could be just the first step in a mission creep that will leave Britain stuck with a huge role in the war.
Matthew Jamison of the Royal United Services Institute cited Sierra Leone as an example in which Britain sent a nominal force and was eventually jostled into taking over virtually the entire operation, with a huge military deployment.
British military and intelligence leaders have been warning against getting too sucked into the Mali war, and while Prime Minister David Cameron is denying any such plans, he has also talked up a broad war across Northern Africa that he envisions lasting “decades.”
Even France, who started the war, has sought to downplay its impact to its own public, insisting originally that the whole war would be over in a matter of weeks and then deploying thousands of troops, griping that the rest of Europe wasn’t getting itself sufficiently involved. Still and all, many nations seem to be getting sucked into Mali in one way or another, and as the war drags on this could mean bigger and costlier roles.
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