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Defense: what options for the Barkhane force in the Sahel? - RFI


France is studying "all strategic options" for its military involvement in the Sahel, including "greater involvement of allies",

By Franck AlexandrePosted on 02-12-2019Modified the 02-12-2019 at 12:19

France is studying "all strategic options" for its military involvement in the Sahel, including "greater involvement of allies," said Emmanuel Macron, after the death of 13 soldiers of Operation Barkhane in Mali.

The tragic helicopter crash will not change the French commitment to Mali. To abandon the Sahelo-Sahelian band to terrorist groups would be a danger to all French-speaking Africa. This is not an option for Paris.

Development aid, a key axis

There will also be no " surge ", an Anglo-Saxon term to evoke a significant reinforcement of the Barkhane contingent . Because French forces are already operating at the limit of their capacity.

In the entourage of President Macron one wonders instead priorities: should we for example focus on a particular area, such as Liptako-Gourma ? Should we favor the formation of G5 Sahel partner armies? Or what place for development aid? A key axis of the strategy in the Sahel, insists Jean-Michel Jacques.

Vice-president of the Defense Committee of the National Assembly, he leads an information mission on the security-development continuum . Back from Mali, Jean-Michel Jacques pleads for a decentralized and conditioned development: " If we put money into development, we must absolutely check that things are done in due time in accordance with what is request. Because, if there is not this notion of accountability, it finally promotes the flow or erosion of some of these investments to bad practices and bad habits that can be found locally and that bears the name of corruption. And then you have to be efficient, that is to say that the situation can not eternally remain in the state, so you have to put a limit in time. "

Greater involvement of European partners ...

The forthcoming establishment of the Tacouba Task Force (Saber in Tuareg) should bring together special forces from a dozen European nations. France does not want to be alone anymore in the Sahel. François Lecointre , Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, is confident; this solution will allow, he said on the RFI antenna, to relieve the Barkhane force: " In the contacts I have with the military authorities of our European allies, there is the very strong conviction that the situation requires a greater commitment of Europeans. Many countries, especially from Northern and Eastern Europe, are interested in engaging with us in these operations and I hope they will be more and more numerous, but they have real skills of real abilities and we will come together to aggregate our efforts . "

►To read also: Sahel: to reduce the strategy to the military option would be an error (JH Jézéquel)

The Europeanisation of the Barkhane Force is an old political will of France, but which will not bring operational efficiency, assures Elie Tenenbaum , researcher at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI): " Apart from a few niches Capabilities, we know that the Europeanisation of the Barkhane system does not have as much operational efficiency as a gain in political legitimacy. It is about to serve a narrative in which one explains that France is not the neo-imperialist power, in a former colony which would lead a war in a unilateral way. It is about gaining political legitimacy and then also for Emmanuel Macron to build in fact, the European defense he calls for. "

►Also read: Jean-Yves Le Drian asks for " more political action " in the Sahel

    On the same subject

    Who are the 13 French soldiers dead in Mali?

    [Your reactions] Sahel: what future for Barkhane?

    France: tribute to 13 soldiers killed in Mali in the presence of Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta

    Sahel: the problems and challenges of the Malian armed forces


    Source: rfi

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