Barkhane's withdrawal makes the front page of the French and African press

A man reads the newspaper in Bamako (illustrative image).


Text by: Norbert Navarro

4 min

French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday, June 10 a "profound transformation" of the French military presence in the Sahel and the establishment of an international anti-jihadist alliance in the region.

A decision widely commented on in the French and African press on Friday, June 11.


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In Mali, the



wonders whether it is an "

 admission of failure of France's military strategy in the Sahel

 ", a " 


 " or a " 

big irritation



Barkhane is packing up! 

", Launches

Wakat Séra,


while awaiting a first-class burial, or a burial in the intimacy of the family, everything will depend on who has signed the death


According to the Ouagalais newspaper, "

 after a slow agony

 ", the Barkhane force " 

has just breathed its last breath


This announcement " 

sounds like a sanction against the soldiery who has just confiscated power in Mali

 ", formulates

this other Burkinabè newspaper that is

Le Pays


It is also, one could say, a real snub for the ECOWAS which has decided to stroke Colonel Goïta and company in the direction of the hair


Assimi Goïta and his brothers in arms will now have to firmly attach the laces of their shoes



An endless war, without defeat or victory


This chronicle of an announced death of "Barkhane" also made the front page in the press this morning in France. " 

The disappointment is perceptible,

points out

Le Figaro


but for several months, France had been looking for a way out of what this daily calls the" Barkhane trap ", that is to say an endless war, without defeat or victory, which depletes military funds and soldiers

 ”. According to this newspaper, Paris feared to be " 

prisoner of an Afghan scenario


However, insists

Le Figaro

, “ 

if Barkhane ends, France has not yet left the Sahel

 ”. Because if Emmanuel Macron announced "  

the end of Operation Barkhane as an external operation

 ", the Head of State, head of the armed forces added that "

  the continuation of our commitment 

(in the Sahel) will 

not be done at constant frame


French newspapers wonder about the change in format of the French army.

This transformation will involve "

 the closure of French army bases in Mali with possible redeployments in Niger, from which Mirage 2000 are already taking off



Le Parisien


Journal to which the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, assures


that " 

we are not giving up the fight against terrorism, we must adapt Barkhane, but we are not giving up this fight, in partnership with the G5 Sahel


No official figures yet

Referring to several sources,


also mentions " 

a closure of French military bases in northern Mali, and redeployment to Niger and Chad


This website barely mentions the question of whether or not the French army " 

sees the transformation of its engagement on the continent favorably


What reduction in staff?

Nothing official yet, but, according to unofficial sources quoted by the newspaper


, from 5,100 today, the number of French soldiers deployed “ 

could increase to 2,500 in 2023 (…) It remains to be seen how quickly and how far will this withdrawal go, so difficult is it to get out of such a situation without losing face


It is a true iron law of military arithmetic. As


explains further

, "

 the military effect of a reduction in personnel is not proportional to its percentage: 10% fewer men is much more than 10% less on the ground.


In a modern army, the support and support functions - logistics, intelligence, medical, protection of bases, maintenance, etc. - mobilize large numbers of personnel that are difficult to reduce. The easiest to reduce is the number of personnel leaving the bases to produce a military effect on the enemy


This is why this daily stresses that the decline in the workforce of "Barkhane" will have to be managed " 

with tact 

" vis-à-vis France's European allies.

Because for Europeans, " 

coming to help the French is one thing, replacing them while they are repatriating their soldiers is another, quite different



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  • Sahel

  • Mali

  • France