France has announced the “preventive suspension” of all operational and military cooperation with the new Government of Mali arising from the last coup. In this way it paralyzes, “for a few days”, its joint military operations with the Malian forces.
As French diplomatic sources inform ABC, the objective is to send a clear message to the colonel Assimi Goita, Mali’s new strongman since May 29. The decision of the “preventive suspension” is pending “that Goita makes the promises he has made” in the talks held in recent days between Paris and Bamako.
“ECOWAS and the African Union have established requirements and red lines to clarify the framework for the political transition in Mali. It is up to the Malian authorities to respond quickly ”, specified in a statement.
“Pending these guarantees, France, after informing its partners and the Malian authorities, has decided to suspend, as a precaution and temporarily, the joint military operations with Malian forces, as well as the national advisory missions to them ”, it is underlined.
In other words, the suspension does not affect France’s own mission (without Malian troops) nor would it affect French participation in the European training mission EUTM Mali, which it leads Spain with the general Fernando Grace and 530 personnel out of a total of 1,077 personnel. Spain also plans to send a unit of three military transport helicopters and 62 additional soldiers.
Of course, the EU could rethink the situation of this training mission, which has completed eight years in May, if the “preventive suspension” of the French mission persists over time.
It should be remembered that France’s military intervention in Mali was launched in January 2013 with the aim of preventing the capital, bamako, fell into the hands of the jihadist groups that entrenched in the north were heading towards the capital in the south.
Last Sunday the French President, Emmanuel Macron, issued an ultimatum to the Malian Government and assured that it would withdraw the troops at the risk that Mali would fall into the power of the jihadist groups that have settled in the desert heart of the African continent and “threaten.”
Five days after the second coup in Mali, in nine months, the French president declared several media that accompanied him on his African tour: “The coup is unacceptable, for the European Union and for France. The president deposed by the military assured that Mali would not accept the jihadist presence. French soldiers will not accept a Mali controlled by jihadism. If that were the temptation, today, France will withdraw from Mali.
Threatening to withdraw his troops in Mali, Macron also tries to put political pressure on the African G-5 member states (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad), whose stability is threatened by various jihadist groups, such as the Gsiam (Group of support for Islam and Muslims) and the EIGS (Islamic State in the Greater Sahara), which have fraternal relations with other variants of terrorist Salafism, such as AQIM (Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb), Mujao (Movement for the unity of jihad in West Africa), or Boko Haram (Sunni Group for Preaching and Jihad).
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism