UN Approves 12,600 Troops for Mali

UN Official: Not an 'Anti-Terrorist Operation'

The UN Security Council has authorized a 12,600-man force, dubbed the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (UNMISMM).

According to UN Undersecretary for Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, the force will not be engaged in “an anti-terrorist operation” but rather will be working to impose Malian junta rule on the cities across the northern half of the nation with an eye on promised July elections.

Interestingly, nearly half of the UNMISMM is expected to come from Chad, meaning the exact same forces that the Chadian government withdrew and insisted weren’t up to a guerrilla war in Mali just a week and a half ago are going to be sent back into the exact same situation.

That may suggest Ladsous’ comments were aimed at selling the participating nations on UNMISMM not getting stuck into the quagmire they were trying to avoid. The reality though is that French officials clearly see this as an open-ended operation, and UN troops are going to find themselves expected to do the heavy-lifting in a national building operation that is going to be expected to cope with a major insurgency.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.