Commenting on the “coordinated withdrawal from Mali” decided with the European partners Emmanuel Macron pronounced these few words which are as much an observation as an admission and a regret: “France’s role is not to replace the States. » Why didn’t he act on it earlier, he who was neither Serval’s decision maker nor Barkhane’s? We understand that in view of the 53 French soldiers killed in the Sahel, the ten billion euros that the two operations will have cost so far, but also the hundreds of jihadists eliminated, the president cannot bring himself to talk about ‘failure.
A failed Malian state
However, not many people think otherwise. Even before the colonels, twice putschists, engaged in a standoff allowing them to make people forget their own turpitudes, a number of experts and actors in the field warned against the extension ad vitam aeternam of a perceived military presence on place, rightly or wrongly, as an occupying force. Some senior officers and diplomats were soon aware of the impasse that threatened France, literally trapped between more political jihadists than one might have thought, Malian military forces with a sometimes delicate professional and ethical reputation and a class politician with a very limited sense of the common good and the national interest.
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Neither Serval nor Barkane had a mission to improve the failed Malian state, nor a society very divided and tormented in many places by Wahhabi bigotry. If it ever was, it is no longer the time and all the less so since at the same time, France continues to pretend to believe that Paul Biya, Sassou N’Guesso and other Ali Bongo are heads of States worthy of the name. We cannot castigate Colonel Assimi Goïta and his friends – as Emmanuel Macron did again this Thursday under the complicit eye of the Senegalese Macky Sall, the president of the African Union (AU) – and ” the same time “ authoritatively install at the head of Chad the son of the late Idriss Déby in open violation of the constitution. In fact, yes, we can do it, but we should not be surprised at the skepticism that risks being reserved for the promises of a “new partnership”, 100% egalitarian, between Europe, and particularly France and the African continent. We cannot deny Emmanuel Macron a certain lucidity: yes, if Africa does not succeed, Europe will lose a lot. And not only the contracts that China, Turkey or India accumulate without worrying about anything else.
Avoid Kabul-style chaos
In a few weeks, under other names, Barkhane and Task Force Takuba will therefore make small, much smaller ones we are told, outside of Mali, in Niger and various countries in the Gulf of Guinea where the jihadist presence is more and more regular. But this time promised, sworn, the military will not take precedence over everything. The reforms (of development and democracy) in the various countries concerned must follow and thus accompany the military gesture.
READ ALSO: LThe painful lessons of France in Mali
How? ‘Or’ What ? With whom ? Spurred on by whom? The game, it must be admitted, is not easy and especially for France. Held responsible for all the ills of the earth by the Pan-Africanists, whatever happens, it will retain certain military forces on the continent and, if it wants to, will never be considered the equal of its competitors as a simple economic player. For the time being, he must succeed in a huge logistics operation. Leave in order, without too much damage and avoiding the humiliation of Kabul-style chaos…