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French Military Overstretched as Hollande Pushes Active Role

  • Military is already active from West Africa to Middle East
  • Former army chiefs warn of burn-out, inadequate resources

French President Francois Hollande says his country will continue to play a leading role in fighting Islamic militants from West Africa to the Middle East. Former military officials warn the country may not have the resources to honor that pledge. 

They say the military is active on too many fronts, and soldiers are being used in missions for which they haven’t been trained, such as protecting possible targets against terror attacks. While the French military can still run its two main overseas missions -- tracking militants in the southern rim of the Sahara and carrying out air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria -- it won’t be able to give its personnel proper rest and training, and would be unable to cope with a new emergency in, say, Libya or Ukraine.