Middle East

France announces withdrawal of Mali

Paris: France yesterday announced that it would withdraw its troops from Mali due to the collapse of relations with the country’s ruling government, almost ten years after the fight against the jihadist rebellion. Mali’s deployment is problematic for France-48 of the 53 French soldiers killed to serve in the Sahel region of West Africa died in Mali.

According to a statement signed by France and its African and European allies, the “multiple obstructions” by the military junta that came into power in August 2020 meant that the conditions for operating in Mali were no longer in place. .. The decision was made by France’s first deployment of 2,400 French troops in Mali in 2013 and a small European army of hundreds of soldiers created in 2020 with the aim of reducing the burden on the French troops. Applies to Takuba.

President Emmanuel Macron said in a press conference that “we cannot continue to be militarily involved with de facto authorities who do not share strategy and hidden objectives,” saying that France had failed in the country. He said he refused “completely”. Macron said the French bases in Gossi, Menaka and Gao in Mali will be closed within the next four to six months. But he vowed that the withdrawal would be done in an “orderly” way. The announcement comes at a critical time for Macron a few days before the president is expected to make the long-awaited declaration of his second term in the April elections.

Macron’s priority is to ensure that the withdrawal does not lead to a comparison with last year’s chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. France initially deployed an army against jihadists at the request of Mali in 2013. However, the rebellion was not completely subdued. The jihadists scattered by French firepower were reorganized and moved two years later to the center of Mali, an ethnic powder barrel, before launching attacks on neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. Now, new fears are emerging about the push of jihadists to the Gulf of Guinea.

“It’s a disgraceful end to the armed intervention that begins nine years later, against the backdrop of the crisis between Mali and France,” writes the French daily Le Monde. Macron denied that the intervention was in vain. “What would have happened in 2013 if France had not chosen to intervene? There is no doubt that the National Order of Mali had collapsed,” said his predecessor Francois Hollande in the army. Welcomed the decision to deploy.

However, even after the withdrawal from Mali, France and its allies have vowed to continue fighting the war on terror in the region, including Niger and the Gulf of Guinea, and an overview of this action will be revealed in June. Added. Senegalese President Macky Sall spoke with Macron, saying, “The war on terror in the Sahel cannot be a business solely for African countries.” Macron warned that al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups have made Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea “priorities for expansion strategies.” Macron has announced that Mali’s Takuba army will be relocated with the Niger army near the Mali border.

Wider impact

Currently, about 25,000 foreign troops are deployed in the Sahel. France had already announced the start of drawdowns last year, but they include about 4,600 French soldiers. Colonel Pascal Ianni, Chief of Staff of the Army, said the withdrawal of Mali meant that 2,500 to 3,000 French troops would be deployed throughout the region within six months.

At its peak, an army of 5,400 men, known as Barhane, was on duty. Especially in Mali, there are also the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission MINUSMA, established in 2013, and the EUTM Mali, an EU military training mission for the Malian Armed Forces. Macron said it would provide MINUSMA with aviation and medical assistance in the coming months before France shifts these responsibilities. — AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/france-allies-announce-mali-withdrawal/ France announces withdrawal of Mali

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