In Mali, ‘France is paying the price for its own ambiguity,’ expert says

France has stepped up its crackdown on Malian forces since ECOWAS, West Africa, imposed strict sanctions on the country over the weekend. As the Malian army demands protests Friday against international sanctions and sanctions, particularly from Paris, a stage has been set for tensions between the two countries. FRANCE 24 discussed this with Antoine Glaser, a leading French expert in Africa.

The anti-French sentiment is growing Mali in the past few months, and it reached its peak this week after a major bloc in West Africa announced severe punishments in the country of January 9.

Mali Army he encouraged the people to take to the streets Friday in “support of their homeland” protests against West African sanctions and international coercion – mainly from the former colonial country, France.

Produced by the Economic Community of West African States (Price of ECOWAS) was in response to a junta delayed election time, and he did so immediately with the help of France. The bans, which include a ban on trade and the closure of borders, have hit Air France stopping its flights in Mali this week.

France has since done so forced the EU to comply with ECOWAS sanctions and on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Malian military to establish “valid time of election”.

Mary is falling in love with the plot on May 25, 2021, the second of many years – which saw the leader of the junta Colonel. Assimi Goita attempts to strengthen military rule despite countries calling for a return to civilian rule.

Relations between Mali and France have been strained since the fall of French President Emmanuel Macron banning December tour in West Africa. While the official French cause for Macron’s ban was the Covid-19 plague, it followed a war of words Between Paris and Bamako over Mali’s decision to call on the Russian Wagner Group to join the militants after withdrawing French troops.

With almost a decade leading by French troops in Mali to curb the spread of jihadist attacks in the Sahel, Mali’s security has deteriorated. The criticism match between Paris and Bamako did little to dispel anti-French ideologies sweeping West Africa. Social networking sites have exploded with Francafrique lawsuits, citing unidentified relations between France and its former African territories.

FRANCE 24 discussed the implications and consequences of a recent topic in the relationship of Franco-Maliya with Antoine Glaser, a leading French scholar in Africa and author of several books, including his most recent, “Le Piège africain de Macron” [Macron’s African Trap], written by Pascal Airault.

FRANCE 24: Why West African dating sites have a place exploded with anti-French messages? Is anger against France rising in Mali?

Antoine Glaser: In Africa, France exists as a historical species. Although the continent is located all over the world, the presence of French troops gives the impression that Paris still wants to pull the strings of the past. Francafrique style. And this is a little acceptable to the young Malays, and especially to all the young Africans.

This is why Macron organized New Africa-France Conference in Montpellier [in October 2021]. Calling on members of the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), he hoped to end the dissatisfaction of the people by changing the image of Francafrique on his head.

>> Read more: Macron wants to rebuild relations with Africa at the summit

Clearly, with regard to the ECOWAS sanctions, one should not overlook the use of these anti-French ideologies by government officials in Bamako, who promote patriotism and make France guilty. Not to mention the fraud with Russia, which wants to make a mark on the continent.

F24: Relations between France and Mali have been strained for months. What is Macron and Bamako’s approach?

AG: In my opinion, in Mali, France is paying the price for its incomprehensibility. The role of the Foreign Ministry in France is that it no longer wants to be at the forefront of internal African affairs and that its sole purpose is to fight jihadism.

The dismissed meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Assimi Goïta in December illustrates this approach. The French leader refused to come alone and asked to be accompanied by his African counterparts [Chad’s Mahamat Deby and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo] He wanted to show that he was not in front and to protect himself behind ECOWAS. This was one of the main reasons why the convention was canceled.

However, when it comes to Mali, because of its influence, France is always at the forefront of negotiations. The reason is simple: His military power and presence in Africa are the foundation of his global domination. Without Africa, France is weak. This is locked in the agreement between the interests of Africa and other countries.

And France’s notion of EU-led leadership reinforces this phenomenon. Especially since, for several months, Emmanuel Macron has been trying to unite many European countries in the fight against terrorism in Africa through the Takuba militia. [a task force composed mainly of special forces units from several EU nations].

F24: With ECOWAS sanctions, is there a risk of escalating tensions?

AG: In the imbroglio of military-war politics, things will be very difficult for Quai d’Orsay. [French Foreign Ministry]. We have already seen this [on Thursday] when Mali criticized France for the cause flying A400M fighter jet in Ivory Coast. Bamako said it had violated Mali’s plane and violated a law banning airlines due to penalties. France said military missions were not affected by the routes, but the section sounds like a warning.

Also, one wonders how it works Barkhane [France’s counter-terrorism operation in the Sahel region that Macron has started to reduce from its initial 5,000-strong force] will be able to continue. First, because they have no other choice, in a larger area, than in the air, and because the deployment of Russian troops from the Wagner Group raises a number of operational questions.

F24: In this case, should France not hasten the departure of troops from the country?

AG: France will not make a decision three months before the presidential election, when security in the country deteriorates. It wants to avoid any kind of disruption to Afghanistan in any way.

It is important to understand that each country does its own thing in this regard. Some ECOWAS members are afraid to seize power in their own countries. Algeria, too, wholeheartedly supports the sanctions. Everyone has their own goals here.

F24: Can ECOWAS sanctions tarnish France’s image in other countries in the region?

AG: Obviously, there is a risk of boomerang consequences. Anti-French sentiment is already prevalent in all the ancient world and is very strong in the Sahel. This was especially evident when the French army was on its way from Ivory Coast to Mali in November he stands [in Burkina Faso] and angry opposers.

ECOWAS sanctions will also have a detrimental effect on Mali’s neighbors. Senegal, for example, relies heavily on its trade relations with Bamako. The whole stock market has now come to a standstill. Naturally, Senegalese critics will be able to apply this to the ideological negotiations and, consequently, to participate in the reduction of the French image.

(This is a translation of first in French.)

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