As you must know, after the end of WWII both France and the UK were forced to let go of their colonies. However, they left behind a network of rogue politicians, businessmen and agents to maintain those African states that are rich in natural resources poor and impoverished. Basically, with one coup d’etat following another, it became apparent that the former colonial masters retained enough power to control those states that they still perceive as their own. Thus, newly elected governments in most African states must remain mindful of the steps they are about to take, since anything that could be regarded as an act of disobedience could result in an armed civil conflict, direct assassination, or instances of ethnic cleansing organized by those overseas powers. That is why countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and the Central African Republic often felt like they’re being held hostage, since they were unable to sell such natural resources as uranium, oil or gold to any states other than France, the UK and the US.
Now, the Central African Republic is blessed with a strategically beneficial location, as it’s situated in the center of the continent. Moreover, it has no shortage of natural resources to sell, as it has diamond deposits, huge forests, and mineral mineral deposits. It goes without saying that France benefits from acquiring those resources the most, with China and South Africa entering the local market just recently. Considering this development, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a brutal armed conflict has been ravaging the country for years until Russia and Sudan managed to convince leaders of the warring parties to seek conflict resolution at the negotiation table. Last February, local authorities agreed to sign an agreement with representatives of 14 militant groups after ten days of negotiations in Khartoum, Sudan. The parties pledged their commitment to the goals of rebuilding the country and pursuing peace, with the stakeholders forming a new government, with representatives from all of the non-state armed groups getting seats in it.
Moscow undertook major hassles to be an effective mediator in all of this, promoting disarmament all across the Central African Republic, while insisting that the Central African Armed Forces must be receiving support from international powers. Predictably enough, this resulted in the Central African Republic reevaluating its approach towards Russia.
Now, nobody could have expected Russia entering the so-called sphere of French interests with its peaceful initiatives! Back in 2017, France decided that it wouldn’t object to the UN Security Council approving Russia’s shipment of small arms to two battalions of the Central African Armed Forces, on top of sending two hundred military consultants, fulfilling the demand voiced by Faustin-Archange Touadera.
France’s l‘Opinion believes that the Central African president had no other option than to turn to Russia out of the fear for his own life, as he recognized that Frenchmen couldn’t care less about his well-being, or the state that he’s in charge of, as he felt that he was trapped in his presidential palace. Moreover, initially both Emmanuel Macron and the French Foreign Ministry had no objections to Russia playing a role in the attempts to stabilize this war-ravaged African state. Thus, Russian soldiers took a number of responsibilities upon themselves, including the responsibility of bodyguarding Faustin-Archange Touadera. Unsurprisingly, this led to Russia getting more involvement in the negotiations between the local authorities and those militant groups trying to take them down.
Now, that’s where France got really pissed, as Frenchmen have suddenly realized that they are running the risk of losing the country that’s extremely rich in all sorts of natural resources. France, together with the UK, have already surrendered a lot of their positions in Africa to China, and the last thing it could tolerate was Russia expanding its military presence across the continent. After all, Frenchmen are wasting a lot of money on various programs designed to maintain their primacy in Africa, including sponsoring various media platforms engaged in spreading propaganda.
That’s where Russians found themselves getting a lot of flak from all sorts of those peace loving MSM warriors, claiming that Russia has crossed all the red lines in the world. Sure, nobody cares at that point that the Russian private military company protecting Faustin-Archange Touadera arrived to the Central African Republic on the invitation of local authorities with the approval of the UN Security Council. Why would it matter anyway?
Now, Frenchmen want to see the Central African Republic, Kongo and Sudan burning again, since Russia managed to make friends with these three, benefiting greatly from cooperating with them. France is fully aware that once Russians have managed to dug in, you’re not sending them home anytime soon. And this means that the pro-French regime of Idriss Déby in N’djamena is about to fall, as it has managed to stay in power due to the fact that N’djamena hosts the largest French military base in Africa. Then, Niger may decide that it likes its new friends better than the old ones, and it’s been the primary supplier of uranium for french nuclear power plants. This will result in France losing its status of a major player in Africa.
That’s why Frenchmen decided that they won’t hold on to those 1400 made-in-China AK-47 they confiscated from Somali pirates at one point, handing them over to the so-called “aoxilieres” in the Central African Republic, taking advantage of the UN Security Council Resolution 2127. Thus, France started arming civilians that are free to use those guns as they see fit. Indeed, those could come in handy in the course of anti-government riots in Bangui. It’s hardly a secret that security forces of any country have extremely low tolerance levels to being shot at with military-grade assault rifles, which means that they can easily be provoked in shooting protesters back. And that’s where Faustin-Archange Touadera can be accused of suppressing “peaceful demonstrations” with violence, with overseas powers forcing him to resign and flee the country. That’s how things are done in the West. That’s where the country can be plunged in chaos only to be rescued by French peacekeepers riding their fancy armored vehicles.
Should this fancy plan fail to come to fruition, there’s always presidential election to be held, with the next one starting in the Central African Republic in a year from now. That’s where you can bash this Russia-loving Faustin-Archange Touadera for as long as you want, so what if he wants peace for his country? Frenchmen have already started approaching the Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Firmin Ngrebada, hoping he would do France’s bidding if he can get himself elected.
At the same time, Frenchmen were fairly disappointed when they learned that the public opinion in the Central African Republic has undergone a drastic change recently. Local citizens don’t seem to be as scared of their former colonial masters as they used to be. Just take a look at Julien Bela, the director of the largest publication in the Central African Republic, Centrafric Matin pointing out on the front page of that publication that Russia is a superpower that has no shortage of modern weapon systems, while France is nothing but a running joke these days. Bela makes a point about France never doing anything for the Central African Republic, and now that Russia and China started playing a positive role in the regional politics, it grew jealous. And it’s hard to argue with him, as if you want to get your hands on some fancy weapon systems, Russia is the place to go.
Ron Henry is a freelance political observer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”