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In the past days, Mali asked for a UN meeting with United Nations Security Council President, China, because of several serious allegations against France on its territory. According to the Malian letter, France would have violated its air space several times, would have delivered weapons to the armed groups, and in addition, France would have used their air space against them to collect intelligence information for these terrorist groups. This last accusation is not accompanied by evidence.
On Monday there was the complete withdrawal of France forces from Mali, closing in this way what was the France mission called “Barkhane” which had worked for nearly a decade in Mali. The “Barkhane” mission was born in 2013 as an operation stretch to fight the insurgent Jihadist groups in the Sahel region. The “Barkhane” operation worked also in other countries of the Sahel region, all former France colonies. After the coup d’état in 2022, the new Malian government did not want foreign forces on its territory, precisely West forces. For this reason, the relationship between France and the Malian junta escalated.
France rejected the Malian allegations made about its involvement in the operation against the Malian junta and said they are satisfied with the “Barkhane” operation which guaranteed the safety and protection of a lot of Malian people and avoided the creation of a Caliphate on the Malian ground neutralizing the most important Jihadist groups present in Mali. At its peak, the Barkhane mission had 5100 troops among five Sahel allies, all former French colonies Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
Malian people look at the Barkhane operation differently. They see it as a failure and a part of it looks at what France saw as an opportunity for them to fight Jihadism by themselves and an opportunity to work on their security issues. Days after the French withdrawal members of the Russian Wagner group were notified in the North of Mali by UN German soldiers. The presence of the Wagner group in Mali is not new but is believed that the group would be training the Malian forces to face its internal threats.
Last week Putin discussed with the Malian Junta the possibility of delivering food, fertilizers, and fuel to Mali. Products that are relevant in the African region because of the scarcity of food, and the fruitless natural ground.
At the moment the Malian Junta asked for a United Nations Security Council meeting because of the already mentioned accusations against France without showing any proof. Interestingly, both the revisionist countries, China as President of the UNSC and Russia as Malian forces trainers, are involved in what is happening in Mali and against the West and a permanent country of the UNSC. What we are looking at, seems to be a change of influence from Western countries to Russia and this could open more instability in the country. What is relevant to highlight is the colonial past of a lot of European countries that helped create a big wall between the European and the African countries. An example is France’s forces cheered as heroes when they went to fight the Jihadist groups by the Malian people and now they leave it as a colonialistic influence that did not help the country.
Will Mali be able to give the UNSC the evidence of what they think France did on their ground?