French President Emmanuel Macron recently emphasized the significance of France’s military interventions in the Sahel region, stating that without these operations, several nations might not have existed in their current forms. In an interview with French publication Le Point, Macron discussed the outcomes of Operations Serval and Barkhane, conducted by French forces in the mid-2000s.
Macron underscored the pivotal role of these interventions, suggesting that Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger might not have retained their current status if not for France’s involvement. The French President acknowledged that these operations were carried out in response to requests from African nations and deemed them successful.
The interview shed light on Macron’s viewpoint regarding France’s responsibilities and commitments. He explained that while the interventions demonstrated France’s sense of honor and responsibility, there comes a point where disengagement becomes necessary, particularly when newly established regimes resulting from a coup d’état do not prioritize counterterrorism efforts. Macron acknowledged the unfortunate consequences such a situation poses for the affected states.
Within this context, Macron defended his administration’s approach in the Sahel region, emphasizing collaboration and partnership over a singular focus on security. He addressed concerns about the evolving dynamics in the region and acknowledged the need for a balanced strategy.
However, Macron’s policies have encountered challenges recently. The potential loss of Niger as an ally and growing negative sentiments from African nations have brought his Sahel policy under scrutiny. Despite General Abdurahman Tchiani’s announcement terminating military agreements between Niger and France, France continues to maintain a military presence in Niger with over a thousand French troops stationed at a military base.
The interview with Macron provided insights into the complexities of France’s involvement in the Sahel region and the considerations shaping its policies.