France loses influence in Sahel

France loses influence in Sahel

France, the former colonial master in the Sahel, is receiving a series of blows as its foothold shrinks on the back of growing anti-French sentiment and increasing Russian incursions.

After their retreat from Mali following a ten-year failure to eradicate Jihadist groups, now Burkina Faso asked France to withdraw its troops from the country within a month.

Burkina Faso is said to be preparing to let Russia’s Wagner militias in to replace the French, following the example of neighboring Mali.

Most French commentators indulge in blaming their country’s retreat on an impossible cohabitation with Wagner armed men, who have been deployed at the request of Bamako to fight Jihadists.

They, however, shun mentioning factors that made France unwanted in the region: an arrogant attitude as a legacy of a long colonial past and disdain for African elites.

France under President Macron is arrogantly marching on the footsteps of Sarkozy, who expressed clearly France’s belittling of Africa in his famous blunder/speech in the University of Dakar in 2007.

“The tragedy of Africa is that the African man has never really entered history. The African peasant has known only the eternal renewal of time via the endless repetition of the same actions and the same words. In this mentality, where everything always starts over again, there is no place for human adventure nor for any idea of progress,” Sarkozy had said.

France should know that the era of colonialism is bygone and that it cannot do business with African states unless it treats them as equal and sovereign countries.

Instead, Paris applies blackmail. It has halted all aid to the impoverished population in Mali in retaliation for the ever-closer ties between Bamako and Moscow, showing once more that the aid the French shroud in humanitarian considerations is actually a political tool to win foreign policy concessions.

After plundering resources for years and meddling in the domestic affairs of sovereign Sahel states, now Paris stops aid to civilians in need, notably in Mali where 7.5 million people depend on foreign aid.

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