ASSESSMENTS

In the Sahel, a French Exit Will Be Easier Said Than Done

MIN READMar 8, 2021 | 21:27 GMT

French soldiers monitor an area along Burkina Faso’s border with Mali and Niger on Nov. 10, 2019.

(MICHELE CATTANI/AFP via Getty Images)

France is seeking to reduce its military commitments in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, but its failure to instill political stability will impede Paris’ ability to do so without worsening the region’s deteriorating security situation. France hopes to shift the military burden to regional countries and other European countries. Any reduction in French operations, however, will risk aiding the geographic expansion of militants in the Sahel by damaging counterterrorism efforts in the region. France’s desire to develop an exit strategy may eventually give Mali and Burkina Faso the political cover that they need to entertain negotiations with certain jihadist and insurgent elements. ...

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