France Scrambles for Sahel Policy Review after Mali Uproar

According to information from Europe 1, France is in the process of diplomatic exchanges with European and West African countries in order to transform Operation Barkhane. 

A common position is expected in the next 15 days with the aim of a significant reduction in the French military presence in the region.

After the expulsion of the French ambassador stationed in Bamako earlier this week, France is working to clarify the situation with other European countries on the situation in the Sahel. Unless the junta retrogrades, which is unlikely, a definitive withdrawal of French soldiers from Mali seems almost inevitable.

According to our information, the announcement of this redeployment will be formalized within the next 15 days. The whole challenge for the executive will be to hammer home that this is not a “military failure”, but that the system must evolve because of the junta which is showing the French the way out.

Military maneuvers over several months

“These irresponsible diehards are running to their loss,” a senior, disappointed, told Europe 1. France got used to the idea that it had to leave Mali, but wants to continue to fight the jihadists. The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, returned Thursday from Niger where she met President Mohamed Bazoum. According to information from Europe 1, the future French positions along the border are under study.

But rather than recreating a large base outside Mali, Paris wants to support the local armies with lighter contingents. Operation Takuba, which brought together 750 special forces soldiers from 10 European countries, will also be redeployed in small groups to countries that request it. Whatever assumptions are made, these military maneuvers in the region will take place over several months.


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