If You Have to Go to War in the Sahara, Make Sure You Go to War with These Guys.
Meet the Chadian Special Anti-Terrorism Group: the U.S.-trained force that went deep into Adrar des Ifoghas mountains of northern Mali, an area then considered the backyard of Al Qaeda’s most formidable franchise, and won.
DIFFA, Niger — It is a truism that every student of military history, every child who grew up playing Risk, and every fan of The Princess Bride knows by heart: Never start a land war in Asia.
I would like to propose a maxim that is less well known (because I just made it up), but no less true: If you have to go to war in the Sahara, make sure you go to war with the Chadians on your side.
In 2013, when the majority of Islamist rebels who controlled northern Mali retreated to mountainous hideouts in the wake of French air power, it was the Chadians who proved themselves as a willing and able “tip of the spear,” enduring 38 casualties in the process.
“Everyone talks about the French, but we are the ones who won that war,” a Chadian soldier who fought in Mali told me earlier this week.
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