Between Paris and Bamako, a relationship between “duplication and one-upmanship”

Another new escalation between Bamako and Paris! In fact, while it was believed that the tension would fall between the two capitals, and this after the definitive withdrawal of the soldiers of the operation Barkhane from Mali, the authorities of Bamako returned the cover by continuing the offensive again.

Too many accusations?

They openly accused France of violating their airspace and supporting armed terrorist groups, in this case, the Sahelian branch of the Islamic State group. They said this in an open letter addressed to the United Nations Security Council, in which they listed a series of cases presented as “Repeated and frequent violations of Malian space by French forces […] aerial vectors such as drones, military helicopters or fighter planes”.

In total, about fifty cases were recorded, according to Bamako, confirming that these were overflights in Malian space. “no permission” there “Served in France to collect intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups […] and to drop weapons and ammunition”.

In what act! These accusations of support for armed terrorist groups, brought against France, are not surprising. They returned for a long time even if, initially expressed in Malian opinion, they have, this time, the particularity that comes from the authorities in Bamako.

The latter, we remember, already announced the color of the day after the Tessit attack [attaque survenue le 7 août, attribuée aux djihadistes dans la ville de Tessit, située dans la zone dite “des trois frontières” entre Mali, Burkina et Niger]which claimed the lives of 42 soldiers, when they admitted that the attackers benefited “More support and external expertise”.

French ambivalence

True or false? This is a difficult question to answer. Because France, it must be recognized, has long been playing a messy game within the former colonies that it is difficult to absolve it cheaply.

Was he not the one who, for a long time, made unformed presidents in his own backyard, according to his interests? Is it not the same France that, at the beginning of the Malian crisis, intervened between the Malian army and rebel groups [indépendantistes touareg ayant pris en 2012 le contrôle de trois régions du Nord : Kidal, Gao puis Tombouctou]caused chaos that favored the large-scale arrival of jihadists in the north [nord] errors [le 11 janvier 2013, la France lance l’opération Serval pour enrayer la progression des djihadistes] ?

We can multiply the examples of the continent where France, in the best cases, plays tightrope walkers where we hope it will get a clear position and, in the worst case, blow the embers.

The stock trades in anti-French sentiment

However, if it is true that France has always duplicated its relations with its former colonies, this should not cause the Malian authorities to move to avoid their responsibilities. Because we sometimes have the impression that they take advantage of the anti-French feeling so much that they make a business out of it, when they are not sometimes outbidding.

Unless Assimi Goïta and his brothers in arms, who came to power claiming their desire to fight against insecurity, found there a good opportunity to hide their inability to fight terrorism which, today more than yesterday, continues to unjustly mourn the families of Mali.

In any case, Barkhane’s soldiers are already packed, it is up to the Malian authorities to take full responsibility. The time should not be for escalation or fighting, but for a strong commitment to the front to reassure the Malians who no longer know which armed group to trust as they suffer martyrdom.

In addition, the best way for the Malian authorities to transfer more anger to Paris is to prove that Russia-Mali cooperation can succeed in the short term, which Barkhane has “failed” for almost a decade.

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