France and the Barkhane Operation: Shaping a Way Ahead,

France should pull out of Mali. That is the French media message to the Macron administration, as fatalities rise in what is highlighted as a quagmire.

The new year began with a deadly start, when a homemade road bomb killed Jan. 2 two French soldiers in an armored car, just five days after three soldiers were similarly slain. That brought to 53 the number of French soldiers killed since 2013 in the Serval and Barkhane operations in the Sahel region, sub-Saharan Africa. The Barkhane mission seeks to hit armed groups linked to the al Qaeda and Islamic State.

An Ifop opinion poll showed a swing away from public support, for the first time showing 51 percent against the mission in Mali, Le Point weekly magazine reported Jan. 11. […]

A video report on L’Opinion, a news website, set out clearly the case for withdrawing troops: there has been no terrorist attack on French soil from the Sahel region, intelligence chiefs said. The “insurrections” can only be resolved by talks, as the conflicts reflect disputes that date back to before the French colonialism. A French intervention in Mali may have been needed in 2013, ordered by the then president François Hollande, but today’s problem is how to pull the troops out while avoiding making it look like a failure, the video report said. […]

France pulled out of Afghanistan in 2012, two years earlier than expected. That withdrawal was one of François Hollande’s campaign promises when he ran for the presidency, and when he went out to Afghanistan as head of state and commander in chief, he told the French troops they would be home by Christmas.

It remains to be seen how Macron will shape the way ahead with regard to the Barkhane mission. Läs artikel