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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #301 - Françafrique: The sinking of Operation Barkhane (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:41:49 +0200

"Dead for France ?The anti-jihadist struggle in the Sahel is also an opportunity for Paris to support vacillating states that are subservient to France, and to secure the extraction of uranium in Niger. ---- Thirteen French soldiers were killed in the crash of their helicopters during a mission on November 25 in Mali. These deaths have been widely commented on by the media and the political class. Macron paid them national tribute on November 30 ; in the Senate Gérard Larcher praised their " courage " and their " abnegation "; at the National Assembly Richard Ferrand estimated that they had " sacrificed their lives for our fatherland " [1]. Finally, François Bayrou, in a public tribute to Pau, has shelled the names of the 13 victims. " Death for France " chanted the personalities present, after each.
Are these 13 men really dead for France ? Can we speak of sacrifice for the fatherland ? The accident took place in the context of Operation Barkhane, the largest external operation ("opex") of the French army, deployed in the Sahel since 2014. This operation to fight jihadism in the eastern zone, at best inefficient, at worst counterproductive. French troops were unable to prevent the jihadists from shutting down thousands of abandoned schools in Mali and Burkina Faso [2].

Deaths for Françafrique
Since 2017, the G5 Sahel, the coordinating body for Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania, has had an armed force of nearly 5,000 ill-trained and ill-equipped men. Paris carries at arm's length these auxiliaries from the French army, which the UN is reluctant to date, to co-finance and endow with a UN mandate. In May, according to a report, out of the 430 million euros pledged by several countries, only 84 had received it through the G5 Sahel [3].

In the aftermath of the fatal accident, Macron invited the presidents of the G5 Sahel in Pau to "clarify" their position on the French military presence in the Sahel. Scheduled for December, the meeting was postponed to January due to a serious jihadist attack in Niger [4].

This "summons" by the French president was rightly seen as a paternalistic gesture in the countries concerned, where the military tutelage of the ex-colonial power is quite badly lived ... Initially welcomed for fear of the jihadist threat , the presence of the 4,500 French soldiers of Operation Barkhane is indeed increasingly criticized in public opinion, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso.

In addition to the fairly interventionist support for regimes which are subservient to it, the French State secures the interests of French capitalism in the Sahel, in particular the uranium mines of Niger [5]. The fight against jihadism is therefore an opportunity for Paris to perpetuate its hold on French-speaking Africa. The 13 French soldiers did not "die for France". They died to protect geopolitical combinations and industrial sectors in which no people, neither French, nor African, has any interest.

Julien If (UCL Lyon)

[1] "French soldiers dead in Mali: the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, arrived on the base of Gao", on Francetvinfo.fr.

[2] "Military-diplomatic self-censorship in the Sahel", Le Canard enchaîne , December 4, 2019.

[3] Ibidem

[4] Read on Burkina24.com, Africtelegraph.com and Mali-web.org.

[5] " Mali: Areva is well worth a war ", AL , January 16, 2013.

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