Crisis in the Sahel Becoming France´s Forever War,

Ruth Maclean, West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times,

[…] When France sent its forces into Mali, a former French colony, after armed Islamists took control of the West African country’s northern cities, their mission was supposed to last only a few weeks.

That was seven years ago.

Since then, the terrorist threat has spread across a vast sweep of land south of the Sahara known as the Sahel, and France’s counterterrorism fight has spread with it. As a result, more than 10,000 West Africans have died, over a million have fled their homes and military forces from West Africa and France have suffered many losses. […]

France now finds itself stuck in the Sahel, much like the United States found itself in Afghanistan and Iraq — spending years and billions of dollars on fighting highly mobile Islamist groups in difficult, unfamiliar terrain, with no end in sight. […]

But just as the French, Europeans and West Africans are ramping up the fight, the Trump administration is considering withdrawing American troops and closing a new air base in Niger that the Americans had built at the cost of $110 million. Some American officials have said they want to concentrate instead on confronting China and Russia. […]

It is unclear at what point France will consider its work to be done, or get frustrated, and leave. Should it follow America’s example and get out?

“In the same way that French reality TV and pop music is 15 years behind the U.S., French counterterrorism mimics U.S. counterterrorism of 15 years ago,” said Hannah Armstrong, an analyst with the International Crisis Group. “In the Sahel, the Americans have already realized this is a losing battle.” Läs artikel

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