Victory remains elusive in France’s desire to quell the insurgency in the Sahel,

The murder last week of one of the main commanders of Al-Qaeda in Africa was celebrated by France as an important victory in its war against terrorism in the Sahel. But seven years after its first intervention in Mali to quell an Islamist insurgency, Paris is mired in a seemingly endless campaign.

Despite 5,100 French soldiers in the region and 14,000 peacekeepers in Mali, the violence that started in the north of the country has spread, killing thousands of people and displacing millions in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Frustrated with persistent violence, protesters flooded the streets of Mali’s capital Bamako in January calling on the French army to leave its former colonies. […]

In recent months, the Malian government has said it is open to negotiations with extremist groups, something France and other Western allies have long opposed.

French officials have preached an approach that includes governance and development alongside military intervention, noting that his troops operate at the invitation of regional governments. But France has been criticized in some quarters for failing to understand the local dynamics in a region it once ruled. Läs artikel