France is forging new relations with its former colonies, but old habits die hard
Mali - Foreign Relations. Since independence from France in , Malian governments have shifted from an ideological commitment to. The French President Francois Hollande has this week sent more soldiers into Mali, despite his previous promise to downsize their military. The first French intervention, in Northern Mali, was answered with praise and France's decades-long relationship with the Central African.
Possibly in an attempt to be first in line for future trade, or maybe just to affirm itself as a dominant power, French officials are constantly in and out of Africa with brain and brawn. A case in point is the former Prime Minister Francois Fillon's recent comments equating colonisation with "sharing French culture".
On the other hand, French intervention in Mali was deemed a success, and Operation Serval recorded as a gold star on France's tarnished record. Passing the test of public opinion with flying colours is simple: Manuel Valls, current Prime Minister, holds the war against terror at the centre of his policies as he often repeats that "France is at war against terrorism, jihadism and radical Islamism". In sum, the threat of transnational jihadism is the best excuse for a neocolonial posture in Africa, stripped of criticism from the public.
The best way to frame the northern Mali conflict was to focus on the impact of Islamic terrorism on the region, and extend the threat to France itself. France only answered Mali's plea for help once Islamists got involved.
The threat of terrorism convinced the French population, and the government faced little opposition from the public. The fight against a narrative that shapes the national politics of most developed nations led to a quick backup by the United Nations Security Council and the European Union. There is general Sub-Saharan approval of French troops "rescuing" a fragile state like Mali from violent, global threats, therefore little opposition from the continent itself.
The narrative of international powers fighting highly organised Islamist terrorist fractions is popular in France. Painting a hyperbolic portrait of sporadic, regionally active rebels as a powerful network of international jihadists is misleading, but used by international powers to justify foreign intervention.IN THE FRENCH PAPERS - Mali: where has the war gone?
Intervention in Mali was a gold mine for much needed votes, but the positive effects of Operation Serval are already fading. By driving out Islamists out of northern Mali, and not actually eliminating them, France only weakened neighbouring states such as Mauritania and Burkina Faso.
The consequences of Islamist displacement are unravelling daily - from car bombings to switches in arm trade routes  - alongside population displacement. Recent French operations in Africa are limited to the military - they barely cover peace building and state building necessities. While Michael Shurkin from the RAND Corporation, and others, give credit to President Hollande for turning a blind eye to post-intervention duties - claiming that nobody wants a second Afghanistan  - it is hard to ignore the consequences of lack of interest for state building.
In the Central African Republic, passing on peacekeeping duties from French troops to European troops was a disaster. Barely thought-through and therefore poorly orchestrated, the period of floating responsibility allowed for the highest death toll of locals in The international community broadly overlook what they simply consider as France's natural tendency to get caught up in its own power-trip.
However, such an extended commitment to the Sahel's security is worrying given the French army's aforementioned lack of holism. Besides heavily equipped military bases in and around West Africa - mainly in Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso - there is little more offered by the French that can ensure peace and security in the region.
Post-conflict Mali expected peace building programmes of unification between the government and separatists, or development aid to connect the northern region to the wealthier south. Instead, France decided to fund Operation Barkhane, a track and kill mission to eliminate terrorists. How sustainable is that option?
Foreign relations of Mali
Without stable governments that can cater to their populations, rebel movements will continue to materialise across the Sahel. It is clear that French national politics still shape Africa's security landscape. In definite denial of previous commitment to loosen ties to the continent, Hollande's government has found solace in extending the fight against terrorism outside French borders.
As a consequence, intervention in the Central African Republic was brushed under the rug as soon as France realised that Operation Sangaris was going downhill. All eyes were set on concurring intervention in Northern Mali, more appealing to Europeans who could recognise Mali's enemy as their own.
Mali - Foreign Relations
Islamists, and all the narratives that surround them, were a perfect target for French troops as they are considered a legitimate target. Comparatively, France's tenth stint in the Central African Republic was sluggish and unappealing to a French audience that is all too used to entanglements in former colonies as a habit more than a rightful cause as opposed to defending France's national security abroad. Hence the generalised indifference for the latter conflict, and its poor media coverage.
With the issue of the Islam and Islamism jumble at the core of French politics and likely to play a prominent role in the upcoming elections - especially following the recent terror attacks in Paris and Nice, and recent controversy of the 'Burkini Ban' - there is little doubt that the future of French foreign intervention will only tip towards heavier militarisation.
One can only wonder what will happen in Gabon, another former French colony, following recent election-related violence. If Gabon's instability drags on, the former colonial power will find a reason to intervene - absorbing little from its mistakes in Central Africa.
Cambridge University Press, The two men reportedly discussed the situation in the troubled Central African Republic — where Sassou-Nguesso has played the role of regional mediator.
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They also discussed the rise of Boko Haramas well as domestic Congolese politics. The Congolese president bemoaned the role played by the Congolese opposition and diaspora in France. The issue of his candidacy in the presidential elections ofwhen he would be seeking a third consecutive seven-year mandate, was not raised.
Then, French and African presidents entertained close. Personal relationships were systematically out of the grasp of the official governmental channels. They often included illegitimate and secret exchanges of monies and services.
The allegations against him relate to corruption of foreign officers and money laundering involving the French company Marck.
U.S. Department of State
The company specialises in producing military uniforms. Accrombessi was released later on the same day, once the Gabonese presidency had submitted a letter confirming his diplomatic immunity. The probe in the s to the early s was led by judge Eva Joly.
The same ambivalence is visible at the very top of the state. Less than three months later, he was ordering a unilateral intervention in Mali. The intervention later became multilateral. It was supported, in part, by a UN Security Council resolution passed in Decemberand was justified in the name of the international fight against extremism and terrorism. Relations with Chad tell a story The first African state to join the French intervention in Mali, and from which French military aircrafts departed, was Chad.
The country is also currently at the forefront of the fight against Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.