The total collapse of the Malian army in the face of a Tuareg rebellion in 2011—and a subsequent coup by junior officers against the democratically-elected government—proves an important point.
That U.S. military cooperation with Mali up to 2011—specifically, efforts by U.S. Army Special Forces to train Malian troops—was an overall failure.
What’s been missing until now is a thorough analysis of exactly what went wrong. Army Maj. Simon Powelson’ new master’s thesis at the Naval Postgraduate School is the most insightful account of U.S.-Malian military cooperation prior to the crisis, which escalated into the capture of half the country by militant groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The author, a former Special Operations Forces trainer in Mali, teases lessons from the disaster and argues, quite convincingly, that not everything the America did in Mali was a complete bust. Just most of it. […]