The French newspaper “Le Monde” said that the subsequent “Serval”, “Barkhane” operation, in which more than 5,000 French soldiers took part in the territory of the Republic of Mali, did not prevent the escalation of violence between civilians in this country nor the Islamic infiltrations there. It wiped out a number of jihadi leaders that quarter.
After 8 years of this military intervention, launched by former French President Francois Hollande to stop the jihadists’ march on the financial capital, Bamako, the newspaper asked, what is France doing in Mali? Explaining in her editorial, that the answer to this question remains vague.
The reason – according to the newspaper – is that the promise that the protection of French soldiers for the state of Mali will be able to curb the Islamic threat, rebuild the country, respond to the security needs of the population and achieve justice, was shattered with the failure of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was punished in August 2020, To overthrow him in a military coup.
Although these French operations in Mali – as the newspaper affirms – neutralized many jihadist leaders and limited communication between the Sahel region and the Libyan quagmire, they did not prevent the escalation of violence between civilians and the Islamic infiltrations (central Mali), nor the transmission of infection to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso. .
Crowd a large number
The newspaper warned that the French army – even before 5 of its soldiers were recently killed; Bringing the French death toll to 50 since 2013 – he was aware of the danger of falling into a quagmire in a region the size of Europe, to the point that he had considered reducing his presence early.
Although such a possibility is difficult to formalize in the wake of these human tragedies – according to the newspaper – it is no longer possible to exclude it. But not in the form of a brutal withdrawal that constitutes an encouragement to the jihadists and another shock to a country that has suffered so much, yet both military and political considerations are now pushing for curtailment.
The newspaper explained that the “Barkhane” process takes a large number of personnel, which the country needs in other places, given the proliferation of theaters of tension in an unstable world, and it is also a message to the authorities there, especially as they are not always loyal to France, to the effect that the protection of Paris It has no right, and that its soldiers should take charge.
The newspaper pointed out that the two issues that raised France’s concerns and stimulated the intervention of Paris need to be re-evaluated, namely the wave of migration and the contagion of terrorism, on the one hand, and the Islamists’ takeover of a French-speaking country with the possibility of their expansion in the entire Gulf of Guinea region on the other hand.
None of the multiple terrorist attacks targeting French territories has anything to do with the Sahel events – as Le Monde asserts – nor is there evidence that Islamist rule would cause emigration more than it caused the current chaos.
Although Paris rushed in 2013 to help Malians confront an enemy seen as an offshoot of global jihadism, those French soldiers are fighting today are locally rooted jihadists, surrounded by ethnic conflicts over protests caused by the absence of the state.
The newspaper believes that the influence of religious leaders in political life and among the military in power, will make it difficult to avoid the transformation of the Republic of Mali into an Islamic state; Therefore, Paris is now seeking to negotiate with “certain elements” of the jihadist groups.
Le Monde concluded that the horrific experience of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan calls for Paris to be very careful, especially as Russia’s ambitions in Africa make it ready to take advantage of the French setback.
But getting out of the financial quagmire, if it really matters to France, then it cannot be just military; But politically as well, so that all the sensitivities that coexist in this country must be taken into account, and the acquired democratic freedoms must be preserved.