Taoiseach begins African trip with Mali engagements | Irish Examiner
Seeing as we joined the EU defense pact called PESCO around this time last year (somewhat secretly, it has to be said) our Leader has now deemed it appropriate to visit our lads abroad.
First thing to notice, this is NOT a UN blue helmet mission, of the kind Irish troops have been involved in for decades.
It is a training mission for the fledgling EU army which is in its training phase, currently known as EUTM Mali.
The current commander is Brig. General Mirow of the Wehrmacht (Germany), who recently took over from Brig. General Guibert (France)
This whole region consists of former French colonies, which they never quite let go of entirely.
French troops have been operating here for decades, engaging in anti terrorist operations, regime change, or whatever France thought was necessary at any given time.
The current French operation is called Operation Barkhane. It covers Mali as well as neighbouring Chad and Niger. So depending on whether they are wearing a Barkhane badge, or a EUTM badge, the French soldiers could be on either mission. Or perhaps both, who knows?
Anyway, maintaining control over the destiny of former colonies is hard and dangerous work, so they are very glad of our assistance.
Next stop on Leo's January Sunshine trip is Ethiopia, where we fund a portion of the social welfare and health systems.
If he is lucky, the Ethiopians might honour our Taoiseach with a fly-by of their 14 state of the art Sukhoi SU-27 jet fighters. Russia sells these for around 30-40 million dollars apiece, depending on the spec (it goes without saying any self respecting fly-boy would require leather seats)
As for me, well I'm not going anywhere, but I'll be eating extra mandarins this month.
For the extra vitamin C.
I know very well that the hospital A&Es are always as bad as any third world country during the month of January, so I can't allow myself to get any way sick at this time of year.