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Op PRESENCE/Mali (Cdn mission/s, sitreps, etc. - merged)

Journeyman said:
[And those giving advice can be thrown under the bus, then come back all squeaky clean a few months later to run the re-election campaign once the citizens' attention span was waned.... but that's a separate issue  :not-again: ]
At least those on the political side giving advice, anyway ...
I for one don't care that we aren't renewing the Mali Mission as I am of the opinion that UN Operations are a colossal waste of time, money and people. 

Now if the Government of Canada were contributing personnel to French anti-terror operations in the Sahel, I would support that.
Humphrey Bogart: There is zero chance of Justin Trudeau's gov't contributing troops or helos (the UK has done the latter https://thedefensepost.com/2019/07/08/uk-raf-sahel-barkhane-deployment-extended/ ) tp France's Op Barkhane--after all we don't do counter-terrorism these days, don't you now? See this cringe-worthy statement in March by the commander of Op PRESENCE:

Canadian peacekeepers evacuated injured French counter-terror troops in Mali

Canadian peacekeepers were called upon to evacuate several wounded French soldiers in Mali earlier this month after their patrol was ambushed while hunting for militants along the border with Niger.

The previously unreported incident marks the first time the Canadians have been asked to help non-United Nations forces in Mali, where the French have been conducting counter-insurgency operations since 2014...

In an interview with The Canadian Press, the commander of Canada's task force in Mali said the UN and France have agreed to help each other in extreme circumstances and that his peacekeepers did their jobs by helping save lives.

"I wouldn't want people to presume or assume that we're supporting counter-terrorism efforts [emphasis added]," said Col. Travis Morehen. "But it's really at this point about saving allied lives."..

MarkOttawa said:
Humphrey Bogart: There is zero chance of Justin Trudeau's gov't contributing troops or helos (the UK has done the latter https://thedefensepost.com/2019/07/08/uk-raf-sahel-barkhane-deployment-extended/ ) tp France's Op Barkhane--after all we don't do counter-terrorism these days, don't you now? See this cringe-worthy statement in March by the commander of Op PRESENCE:


How dare we save those filthy counter-terrorists lives!
Gosh! Look! UK willing to take risks on the ground with MINUSMA, unlike Justin Trudeau with Op PRESENCE:

UK to contribute long-range reconnaissance group to MINUSMA
The British Army will contribute a 250-strong long-range reconnaissance task group to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) from 2020, UK Secretary of Defence Penny Mordaunt announced on 22 July.

“The UK contribution will provide improved situational awareness and information provision that will help the Mission – military and civilian – in support of the mandate to progress towards a long-term and sustainable peace in Mali,” she said in a statement to parliament.

“This will signal a significant shift in the UK’s approach to peacekeeping as we bridge the gap between those who pay and those who deliver by providing a highly employable, highly capable task force,” she added.

What must our allies, others think of this gov't, us?

And from 2018, delivering others' boots on the ground in role similar to Brits now:

"Canadian peacekeepers ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ with German, Dutch troops in Mali
The Germans and Dutch are tasked with reconnaissance and gathering intelligence on the insurgent threat, and those efforts include building relationships with communities in the region.

But because many of the roads in northern Mali are dangerous or even impassable  — not to mention flooded during the current rainy season — the Germans and Dutch now rely on the Canadians’ air fleet to reach those outlying villages. (Canada also provides air medical evacuations.)..

Some "shoulder-to-shoulder". We deliver others to take the serious risks. Sweet.

To be fair, both Team Blue & Team Red governments have helped (offering a ride) w/Op Barkhane in the recent past - not to mention some of the not-always-completely-unmentionables (even if they weren't involved in combat operations).

And it wasn't just Team Red that chose a non-combat option in that part of the world ;)

Edited to add this from 27 June of this year for a titch of context/scale:
... The United States (with almost 10%) and Germany (over 6%) are also strongly committed to Barkhane, as are Canada and Belgium, the French defence ministry said.

Since 1 January 2019 the United States and Canada have transported 315 tonnes and 43 tonnes respectively of freight, as part of the strategic routes linking France to the Sahel. In comparison, the French Air Force transported 676 tonnes of material over the same period ...
In other words, after Afghanistan and the Canadian public's and media's (DEATH WATCH!) response, our parties are fatality-shy to the max. And, save for a while vs ISIS in Iraq, the parties don't want to be involved in killing by us or allies.

MarkOttawa said:
... our parties are fatality-shy to the max. And, save for a while vs ISIS in Iraq, the parties don't want to be involved in killing by us or allies.
DND's info-machine:  Aaaaaaand, we're done here ...
After more than a year of operations in Mali, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) air task force (ATF) deployed in Gao completed its mission today (31 Aug). An important aspect of Canada’s multi-faceted support included providing critical aeromedical evacuation, logistic and transport capabilities as part of Operation PRESENCE-Mali.

In July 2018, Canada deployed an ATF composed of 250 CAF members and eight helicopters to Gao, northern Mali as part of MINUSMA, which were essential to the conduct of UN operations in remote and vulnerable areas of the country. Since then, the women and men deployed under Operation PRESENCE-Mali conducted 11 aeromedical evacuations and more than 100 transport missions. Upon ceasing transport aviation tasks on July 31, 2019, Canadian helicopters had transported approximately 2,800 passengers and delivered 370 000 pounds of cargo, over more than 4,000 flying hours.

To facilitate a smooth and efficient transition with the incoming Romanian helicopter detachment, the CAF provided four C-17 intra-theatre airlift flights to assist with the deployment of Romanian personnel and equipment to theatre. A small CAF transition team will also be deployed to assist Romania in its preparations to conduct operations. This will minimize disruptions in the availability of critical capabilities to MINUSMA forces and help set up the Romanian rotation for operational success. CAF personnel also met with Canadian civilian police officers, who are deployed with MINUSMA until March 2021, and shared lessons learned in support of their ongoing work in Mali.

Canada’s engagement in Mali is helping to achieve stability and build a brighter future for its people by promoting sustainable development, peace and security.This new phase of Canada’s comprehensive approach to Mali will include continued Canadian diplomatic, humanitarian and development assistance, as well as police and military resources and expertise ...
Well done all who deployed, and safe travels home to those now shutting things down.
Indeed, well done to all.  Good to see the CH147F complete its first international long-term deployment, where by all accounts if provided gold-standard capability for logistical and forward aeromedical evacuation support. :salute:

Not so fast...

Canada to send team back to Mali to help Romania minimize gap in evacuation

The Canadian military plans to send a team back to Mali next month to work with Romanian peacekeepers and minimize a pause in the provision of lifesaving medical evacuations to United Nations and Malian forces and civilians.

Canadian peacekeepers are to cease operations in Mali on Saturday and begin packing up their helicopters and equipment after more than a year in the sprawling West African country.

Yet while their Romanian replacements have started to arrive with help from Canadian Forces transport aircraft, the Romanians aren't expected to be ready to fly medical missions until the middle of October.

To ensure they are ready, Col. Travis Morehen, commander of the Canadian contingent, says some of his troops will return to Mali for a week in September to teach their Romanian replacements the ropes. Those include helicopter crews, medical personnel and intelligence officers.

"I think that is going to be the kind of most important engagement that we're going to have with the Romanians once they get on the ground to get them up to speed as soon as possible," Morehen said in an interview Wednesday.

Dimsum said:
Not so fast...


Given the force extended previously, this seems like an issue with the replacement force, no?
I'm glad that we appear to be achieving the commanders' intent:

Trudeau has an excuse to pose in front of some of our troops wearing blue berets in time for the upcoming election. :sarcasm:
He did go to Mali;  has he visited any other Ops?  Latvia?  Iraq?  PM Harper was to Kuwait, Afghanistan, Erbil...

BZ to the TacHel folks!
No they are not out to lunch.  When Canada took over from DEU, we had the luxury of them still being around to conduct a handover.  We owe it to the Romanians to do the same. 
SF2 said:
No they are not out to lunch.  When Canada took over from DEU, we had the luxury of them still being around to conduct a handover.  We owe it to the Romanians to do the same.

Absolutely!  Even if just those C-17 chalks and a TAV, but it should be enough for an operationally-capable TOCA.
Matthew Fisher has some cutting words for the UN and our gov't after a visit to Op PRESENCE--excerpts:

Canadian Peacekeepers returning home from Mali feeling under utilized
Gao, Mali – Canada has developed a leading-edge medevac capability for the Mali peacekeeping mission that may have out-performed that of the legendary U.S. Army Black Hawk medevac crews who saved so many lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Canadians’ airborne ambulance can deal with more casualties at once than the Americans can and have the wounded treated by emergency room doctors while on their way to a military hospital in the rear.

There has only been one problem with Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Africa. Unfortunately, it is a big one, especially considering that the mission cost yet untold tens of millions of dollars.

The 230 to 260 Canadians in Mali (the numbers varied) saved few lives during their 13 months in the African desert. According to figures provided by the mission in Mali this September, Canadians serving with Operation PRESENCE were only called out 11 times by the UN to rescue 42 injured soldiers and civilians and take them to a German hospital at the Gao airfield.

To the Canadians’ chagrin, the UN usually called out a private Swiss air ambulance service that it had hired. Even when the Canadians were asked for help, it could take hours to get all the necessary administrative approvals from the UN. This made a mockery of the military medicine term, “the golden hour”. The term means that about 60 minutes is the maximum amount of time to get a patient to hospital to have a chance to save his or her life.

“On an individual basis, our relationship with the UN is good,” Lt.-Col. Mike Babin, an Afghan veteran who commanded Canada’s helicopter battalion in Mali from January until the end of the mission, said during an interview early in the summer. The difficulty was “where bureaucracy gets in the way. In one case, we could see we were the best platform, but we were not chosen. From our perspective, that is just wrong. We get really frustrated with this.

“The Swiss contractors are very good but they can’t go into a firefight without nighttime capabilities.”

“To know that the UN is taking five hours to take a decision is very demoralizing,” said Chief Warrant Officer Laurie White, Operation Presence’s top enlisted soldier during the second and last rotation. “This had a huge effect on morale.”..

“The level of violence” had accelerated rapidly in recent months as the warring factions learned to make more complex attacks, a Canadian intelligence officer said during a briefing at the Canadian headquarters beside the Gao airfield.

Canadians never went out on foot patrols in Mali, but other peacekeepers who did faced multiple hazards because ethnic hatreds are deeply entrenched in the country, the officer said.

The Canadian government’s stated ambition before the first tranche of troops arrived for their six-month tours last summer was to help stabilize Mali by having military medical personnel perform a niche role as lifesavers for the UN troops. The latter were mostly from Third World countries with few medical or logistics capabilities of their own. Ironically, despite being reluctant to tap the Canadians for medical rescue missions, the UN pleaded with Ottawa to keep its medevac crews in the Sahel beyond this summer.

The UN appeal, which fell on deaf ears in Ottawa, came amid reports that more than 600 civilians – many of them children – were killed during the first half of the year. That’s more than double the number of Malians killed in all of 2018...

The other part of the equation is that despite months of negotiation, the Canadian government had been unable to sort out the question of how much the medevac crews would be used in Mali.

If “Canada is back”, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said early in his four-year term – which included promises to return in a big way to its traditional leading role of helping the UN with peacekeeping – that certainly did not happen in Gao. Despite initial promises from Ottawa that 600 troops would be deployed to Africa, and after dithering for nearly three years about exactly where to send them and in what context or role, the government finally decided to send fewer than half that number. Interceding in the war to save Malian lives was never part of the mission. Only UN troops were to be offered Canadian medical assistance.

According to UN calculations, Canada did not even figure among the top 10 contributing nations to MINUSMA and it ranked even lower in the number of peacekeepers it provides to UN missions worldwide.

What this means for Canada’s chances to secure Trudeau’s dream of a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021 is anybody’s guess, though that remains the government’s stated goal. Despite the grandstanding, it is unlikely diplomats in New York or leaders elsewhere will be impressed with the brief and relatively small contribution that Canada made in Africa which, incidentally, has more votes (54) at the UN than any other continent. A further complication in terms of winning those African votes is that most of the continent has become heavily dependent on Chinese money, and Ottawa’s relations with Beijing are notoriously bad at the moment...

What Canada is left with after just more than a year in the shifting sands of equatorial Africa is a world-class military medevac capability and a unique cadre of highly trained, highly motivated medical practitioners. This is a wonderful asset to have, but only if it is used. As there is no political discussion today about Canada undertaking another peacekeeping mission of any kind in Africa or anywhere else, the expertise learned here will likely be squandered because the skills acquired will begin to atrophy.

That an affluent G7 country whose citizens, pollsters consistently say, regard themselves as peacekeepers above almost all else, can only dispatch a relatively small medical team to one of the most troubled places in Africa, and for only 13 months, is shameful. What little Ottawa finally decided to do in Mali suggests that whatever romantic myths Canadians harbour about themselves and peacekeeping, they are as risk-averse and as self-satisfied as their political leaders [emphasis added].

Mali deserved better. So did Canadian taxpayers and those Canadians sent halfway around the world with incredible skills that they mostly had little chance to use.