NPR Story
4:36 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

'Western Money, Local Boots' Could Be New Model For Intervention In Africa's Troubled Spots

The French want to get out of Mali, and the French and U.S. authorities are calling for a regional African force to take over the fight, modeled after the multinational African force fighting in Somalia. So why has an African-led force has achieved such military success against Al Shabaab? African commanders say it has a lot to do with perception — their soldiers are fellow Africans in an African country, thus faster to integrate with local security forces and less likely to be viewed by the local populace as "colonizers" or invaders. The deeper reason for the military success in Somalia might be something that those commanders are unwilling to talk about — those African armies have a much higher tolerance than Western armies for losing lives.