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French presence will fail to stop Sahel violence

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Significance

The event, held in the French town of Pau, highlighted the six leaders’ alarm over jihadist violence in the Sahel, particularly recent large-scale attacks by the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). The summit produced little in terms of new concrete military and financial commitments and gave little emphasis to politics. Implicitly, the event appeared to be intended as a vehicle for Macron to get Sahelian leaders to publicly reaffirm their desire for a continued French military presence in their region.

Impacts

  • French-Nigerien operations and militia operations in Menaka in Mali could push jihadist operations elsewhere.
  • Contention over France’s role in the Sahel may hurt the re-election prospects of Burkinabe President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in November.
  • The creation of the Coalition for the Sahel seems to be partly an effort to reinvigorate the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
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