The UK is to deploy about 330 military personnel to Mali and West Africa to support French forces, but have assured that none shall be participating in any combat role. Other equipment, including transport planes and drones, will be provided to the French mission.
I cannot help, but conclude this is only the beginning; it’s inevitable Britain will have to become active in combat missions – if the conflict spreads to neighbouring countries. The African Union might struggle alone, even with French leadership.
Cameron agreed to provide training and assistance to Algerian forces, too, which means the British army will be engaged in training missions in another African nation. Not just Mali.
Mission creep is a genuine concern here. Non-combat roles can easily escalate into aggression. We must tread carefully.