France pledged to triple size of its 750-strong force fighting an Al Qaeda-rebel force threatening to overrun Mali after West African army chiefs failed to agree on the deployment of the 3,300 troops promised by the region at a meeting in Bamako Tuesday. The regional force was to have taken over from France. President Francois Hollande accordingly ordered the French force to be increased to 2,500. DEBKAfile: This number is a drop in the sand for contending with well-trained, highly mobile al Qaeda and rebel forces equipped with high quality weaponry in he vast desert state of Mali.