October 7, 2022

The Political Chronicle

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In Mali, “France pays the price for its ambiguity”

Since the imposition of sanctions by the ECOWAS, France has not eased pressure on the Mali military regime. A new phase in the tension between the two countries that has already been going on for months.

As the weather between Paris and Bamako had already been bad for several months, tensions between the two countries escalated again. Questioned, Implementing barriers The Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) and decided on January 9th Supported by France : Closing borders with Mali and banning trade and finance.

Leaders of the West African organization have chosen the difficult path after the military regime announced that it would postpone the presidential and assembly elections, although the promise was made on February 27. A way to the kernel Azimi Goita Came to power on May 25, 2021, indicating that he wanted to retain power for many years.

After that, Paris did not release the pressure. On Wednesday, January 12, he further announced Air France has suspended contact with the country until further notice. While France holds the six-month presidency of the European Union, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has promised that 27 people are preparing for a series of actions.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on the Malian government “Acceptable Election Calendar” At the same time it indicates the hope that “I will contact the Malian government soon.”

Meanwhile, in Bamako, the military junta called on the Malians to take to the streets on Friday to protest against West African sanctions and international pressure, and, first and foremost, from France, which is planning to defend the motherland.

Antoine Glaser, co-author of the book “The African Trap of Macron” by Fayard, returned to France 24 to discuss the deteriorating relations between the two countries in recent months and the consequences of this new chapter for France in Mali and the Sahel. .

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France 24: Since the announcement of the ECOWAS sanctions against Mali, a number of messages openly criticizing France have been posted on social media. In fact there is a strong anti-French hatred in the country ?

Antoine Closer: In Africa, France lives in a kind of historical barbarism. As the continent becomes globalized, the French military presence gives the impression to the whole population that Paris still wants to pull the strings of ‘old-fashioned Fran்கois’. And that Less and less accepted By Mali youth, and generally by all African youth.

Not only that, but that’s why Raison d’Tre Summit organized in Montpellier By Emmanuel Macron. He hoped to alleviate the dissatisfaction of this citizen by inviting only members of civil society and dismissing heads of state and withdrawing the image of this Franco-African.

Apparently, in the context of the ECOWAS sanctions, we must not ignore the instrumentation of this anti-French sentiment by Bamako’s officials who exaggerate nationalism and make France the best criminal. Not forgetting the tool Russia Wants to create its place on the continent.

Relations between France and Mali had already been strained for months. What is Emmanuel Macron’s strategy with Bamaka? ?

In my opinion, in Mali, France pays the price for its own ambiguity. The official position of Quai d’Orsay is that it no longer wants to be at the forefront of African internal affairs and that its sole purpose is to fight against jihadism.

The meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Assimi Koita in December is a good example of this strategy. The head of state refused to come alone and asked to come with African supporters. He wanted to show that he was not in the front row and defended himself behind the ECOWAS. This is why the meeting was canceled.

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>> Read more: Insecurity, Wagner, change … Many lessons in friction between France and Mali

However, when we talk about Mali, because of its influential diplomacy, France always puts itself at the forefront of all debate. The reason is simple: its military power and its presence in Africa are the foundation of its power in the international arena. Without Africa, France is weak. It is entangled in this process of balancing African interests with international interests.

And the inauguration of France To the presidency of the European Union Further reinforces this phenomenon. In particular, for months, Emmanuel Macron has been trying to involve as many European countries as possible in the fight against terrorism in Africa through the Takuba force. [force opérationnelle composée principalement d’unités des forces spéciales de plusieurs pays de l’Union européenne, NDLR].

Is there a risk of increased tensions due to ECOWAS restrictions?

In this political-military-diplomatic improglio, the situation for the Kwai d’Orsay will be objectively more difficult. It has already been seen today [jeudi 13 janvier, NDLR] Between Côte d’Ivoire and northern Mali, the A400M aircraft returned from Operation Bargane. Bamaka comes forward This ensures that it does not violate the barrier to flying more aircraft in its airspace, Was decided in reaction to the restrictions. France has argued that military aircraft have not been affected by the measures, but the episode sounds good as a warning.

Also, one may wonder how Operation Bargane can proceed. Since there is already no other option, in this vast territory, apart from seeking air resources, but sending Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group raises many operational questions.

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>> Read more: Who are the Wagner group’s Russian fighters approaching military rule in Mali? ?

In this situation, shouldn’t we expedite the withdrawal of troops from France? ?

France will not make this decision Three months before the presidential election, the country’s security situation worsened. She wants at all costs to avoid Afghan defeat.

In this story, it is important to understand that each country serves its own interests. Some ECOWAS members fear coup in their own country. Algeria also half-heartedly supports the sanctions. Everyone has their own agenda.

Can ECOWAS sanctions further tarnish France’s image in other countries in the region? ?

Obviously, there is a risk of a boomerang effect. Anti-French sentiment is already present in all the former colonies and is particularly strong in Sahel. Proof, we remember This convoy of Operation Barkan It was attacked in November on the way from C டிte d’Ivoire to northern Mali.

ECOWAS sanctions could also have very negative consequences for Mali’s neighbors. Senegal, for example, relies heavily on its trade relations with Bamako. Part of his business is currently paralyzed. Of course, Senegalese opponents could use this in an ideological discourse and, as a result, take part in further discrediting the image of France.