West Africa - SahelBlog AnalysisStabilization - Peace

Libya, Mali, Algeria… the annoyances are piling up. Barkhane catches a cold

(B2) The remarks of French President Emmanuel Macron follow one another according to the same ritual: hitting hard, provoking, making headlines and waiting for reactions to try to move the lines. At the current rate, however, there is a very real risk of seeing the author actors present on the spot taking advantage of it. Hit or miss

Libya's Lost War

With Libya, relations are not looking good. Paris has chosen to support the Haftar camp — alongside Russia — against the internationally recognized government in Tripoli. Haftar failed to win. A military failure. His adversary did not completely conquer. But supported by Turkey, he managed to break the offensive and regain the initiative.

A complicated situation in Mali

With Mali, relations have been increasingly delicate since the first coup d'etat and even more so since the second. Paris maintains practical invective the government of Bamako. " Mali's Prime Minister is the child of two coups. So the legitimacy of the current government is democratically null. loose Emmanuel Macron at the end of September on RFI (read: Notebook 02.10.2021). This will very quickly place the military in a difficult position: how to maintain a military force in a country by sharply criticizing its government, even considered as not legitimate?

The nation's criticism Algerian

While the memory work on the war in Algeria has been courageously undertaken, the president hits not only on its leaders, but also on the country. Receiving grandchildren from the Algerian war on September 30, Emmanuel Macron denounced " a memorial pension of power against France. He especially wonders about the construction of Algeria as a nation is a phenomenon to watch. Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization? as reported Le Monde who attended the meeting. A statement that causes astonishment among historians and anger in Algiers. Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris and, above all, prohibited French military planes from flying over its territory (which caused a detour for planes going to Mali or Niger).

An increasingly complicated situation

For France, which claims to stabilize the Sahel, the equation will begin to become complicated very quickly. And not just logistically. How to carry out a military intervention, without the two key countries of Libya and Algeria, in terms ofhinterland of the Malian conflict. Algeria, which hosted the only existing peace negotiations to date, and gave a helping hand to the French forces in northern Mali (by granting them oil supplies).

A path traced for the adversaries of France

Telling people his fact in a brutal way is interesting. This provokes debate, from a journalistic or doctrinal point of view. At the political level, it is less obvious. To use the formula used with regard to François Hollande: “Can a president say that? ". We would like to facilitate the work of the Russians — who are seeking to resume their old African marches — and for Turkey — which wants to settle there — that we would not go about it any other way. France has already lost all control over the Syrian conflict. It had to give way to the Libyan conflict before Germany, which took over the torch of negotiation. Tomorrow it risks the same slap in the Sahel or the Maghreb.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

A franchise with variable contours. Oddly enough, criticism of the nation or the rule of law gives way to certain countries. Nothing about Egypt (where a coup also brought Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sissi to power), little about Chad (with a coup, read: Two weeks after the death of Idriss Deby, Chad still on the edge of the precipice). As for Russia, Paris remains on a traditional French position, equidistant between criticism and friendship. A traditional position that has crossed governments and eras since the Second World War. We can thus have elections, always won by the same character, Vladimir Putin, who alternates the management positions of president / prime minister, cheerfully circumventing the Constitution, without this raising a frown. 

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).