More than 50 years after granting its colonial empire independence, it seems Paris cannot keep its nose out of Africa, argues Newsweek's Brian Eads.
Thomas Dupuy, a sergeant from a commando parachutist unit in the air force, reportedly died in a fierce clash with Islamist militants.
The French government last week announced major cuts in defence spending which include the axing next year of 7,500 jobs in its armed forces, the subsequent closure of several military bases, the scrapping of an artillery regiment and the decommissioning of several warships. "The sovereignty of our country depends as much on tackling our public accounts as on our defence," said defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as he detailed the cull on October 15th. But the minister is also under intense pressure over the massive, budget-busting spending of ongoing French military operations abroad, principally in West and Central Africa, and now also against Islamic State militants in Iraq. Lénaïg Bredoux reports on the opaque funding of the campaigns, including the indirect contribution of the French education ministry, and Le Drian’s controversial and urgent plans to set up public-private partnerships to finance French defence procurement through leasing deals.
US defence officials say they will ask for cost of helping France fight insurgents in Sahel region of Africa to be 'reimbursed'.
French investigators into the July crash of Algiers-bound flight that left 116 dead say 'nothing tells us we can rule out or confirm terrorism'.
French air strikes targeted Islamist positions in northern Mali, west of the city of Timbuktu where an airport came under attack last month.
Malian president says remains of the plane on loan to Air Algérie, carrying more than 50 French nationals, was found in remote desert region.
Nothing has gone to plan in the two military campaigns launched last year by French President François Hollande in Mali and the Central African Republic. In-depth reports by the United Nations, the French parliament and various NGOs detail the huge and quite different problems now faced in both countries, which have resulted in the French army becoming bogged down in its war-torn former colonies. Paris has now announced a new "counter-terrorist" offensive, this time against jihadist groups in the Sahel region of Northern Africa. As Hollande prepares to visit three African countries this week to discuss the move, Mediapart's editor François Bonnet analyses how France has lost its way amid missions that were initially presented as short-term and which now promise the long haul with no exit in sight.
The member of the Foreign Legion is the ninth French serviceman to die since Paris launched anti-Islamist military campaign in January 2013.
The new operation, codenamed Barkhan, will start soon in the largely lawless Sahel in partnership with five countries from the African region.
Serge Lazarevic, who was captured two years ago by Al Qaeda's North African wing AQIM, called for help from President Hollande.
Clashes between Malian forces and Tuareg separatists prompted Paris to send reinforcements to join the 1,600 French troops already in Mali.
Defence minister says the mission of the soldiers will be to fight Islamist militias and other armed groups in north Mali, northern Niger and Chad.
The death brings total number of French soldiers killed in Mali to eight since France launched military operations in the country in January 2013.
No details of why or when Gilberto Rodrigues Leal, 62, died were given by the al-Qaeda affiliated group who kidnapped him in 2012.