French troops, engaged in Mali since 2013, in the fight against jihadism, will withdraw from the country. The announcement was made this Thursday, June 10, 2021 by the French Head of State, Emmanuel Macron during a press conference at the Élysée upstream of the G7. However, the fight against jihadists affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda will continue, but it will now be carried out by an international force composed of soldiers from several countries around the world.
France has decided to give way to an international force in the Sahel. The anti-jihadist operation, launched eight years ago, will be carried out by troops from several countries such as Italy, Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Serbia. French President Emmanuel Macron made it known this Thursday, June 10, 2021 during a press conference at the Elysée Palace. “After consultations (…) we will begin a profound transformation of our military presence in the Sahel”, the French Head of State stated at the outset before announcing the “end of the Barkhane operation as an external operation” and the implementation of “an international alliance involving the states of the region”.Such a decision will gradually lead to the closure of the French military bases in Mali since operations will now be in the hands of the special forces.
A withdrawal that marks the beginning of a new phase in the fight against jihadism in the Sahel. France, which has already lost 50 men out of the 5,100 deployed since the beginning of Operation Barkhane in 2013, has invited the Malian government not to enter into negotiations with the jihadist goupes of ISIS even less with the organizations affiliated to Al-Qaeda.Qaeda groups within the GSIM (Islamic and Muslim Support Group). In this now internationalized fight, Italy, Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Serbia are planning to supply men. “Our goal is to reach 2,000 men on Takuba, with a French pillar around 500 men, in the long term, and cooperation with the armies of the region, with several grip [military bases, editor’s note] but each time in support, with soldiers who would be there in the long term alongside the Sahelian soldiers, which is a different logic from that of opex,” said Emmanuel Macron in February 2021.
Recall that this decision of France was motivated by the second coup d’état in eight months perpetrated by Colonel Assimi Goita.As a sanction, on 30 May 2021, the French president announced the freezing of joint operations with the Malian army. Moreover, Emmanuel Macron did not appreciate the recognition by ECOWAS of Colonel Assimi Goita as president of the transition. For him, this is a dangerous precedent for the African continent.