French President Emmanuel Macron and his US counterpart Joe Biden met on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 to explain themselves after the crisis caused by breach of contract on Australian submarines. To ease tensions, the United States stated in a press release, together with the Élysée, “that it is committed to strengthening its support for terrorist operations” led by Europeans in the Sahel region. A new step for this collaboration that has been going on for more than eight years.
The US military presence is significant, but it is above all old, as Washington has been with France since Operation Serval started in 2013. Support in logistics and especially in intelligence, ISR, the abbreviation for “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance”.
There is also a strategic lift. In total, 20% of passengers and 10% of freight within the theater are provided by the US Air Force. Refueling during flight is 40% American, which means that the French fighter pilot can spread over the entire area of operation.
But the most crucial support is intelligence, so it is important to beat the jihadists. There is the observation thanks to the American harvester drones based in Niger in Agadez and Niamey. To this are added means for electromagnetic listening and The United States works in the Sahel small, highly efficient twin-engine aircraft in areas of interest, they pick up all radio communications as they pass.
Is France hoping for reinforcements? Not necessarily, say French high-ranking officers. This little sentence, which is at the end of the joint press release, they whisper, aims above all to assure and emphasize that the French-American bond is not stretched, on the contrary.