12.08.2021 Author: Phil Butler

News From the Sahel: France and the US Still Helping Themselves


The more idiotic geo-policy analysis I read, the more I wonder where my honorary Ph.D. is. Take a recent Euronews bit concerning “bad old” Russia against “sweet little” France and the Americans in Chad, Mali, and the Sahel region overall.

Former Aspen Institute director Nicolas Tenzer now blames Russia for France’s yo-yo policies in the Sahel. Where should I begin? How about at the beginning of Tenzer’s story?

“Paris is resuming military cooperation with Mali a month after joint operations were suspended in the wake of the coup d’état carried out by Colonel Assimi Goïta, reputedly close to Moscow.”

“Reputedly,” there’s another of those wishy-washy journalist words used when the desired narrative is unsubstantiated. What if France just needs her grubby little fingers in Sahel pies? Is anyone out there dumb enough to forget France is willing to tolerate anyone or anything as long as the resources and profits continue to flow through Paris? Read this paper (PDF) on the French intervention in Mali, by Madi Ibrahim Kanti as a refresher. France has massive mining interests in Mali, not to mention her investments in neighboring Algeria, Mauritania, and Niger. Just think uranium, gold, oil,

And while propaganda channels like Foreign Policy portray Emmanuel Macron’s military pullout from Mali as some kind of post-colonial reset. But, the end of “Operation Barkhane” only marks a new era of business as usual detente. Oh, and AFRICOM operators were in Timbuktu recently carrying out an operational assessment, in case President Macron needs to airlift French commandos at a moment’s notice. Come on, hasn’t the old goose story about the spread of western democratic ideologies been put in the grave yet?

France’s adventures in Africa go far beyond high policy seas pirates like Total, Areva, and Bolloré. Few people realize that over 80 percent of France’s imports come from sub-Saharan African countries. Who do these doctors of detente in the west think they are fooling? Have none of them heard the term Françafrique? Is the word not the ultimate symbol of confiscated, perverted sovereignty propagated by the French? For those unfamiliar, let me remind you of how France works her intrigue in Africa and elsewhere via this passage from a story by novelist Boubacar Boris Diop in New African:

“As long as the terms of this “gentlemen’s agreement” are complied with, the African president can toss his political opponents to the sharp-toothed, flesh-hungry crocodiles frothing in his private pond, crown himself emperor, embezzle and deposit billions in Swiss accounts, all without fearing the slightest rebuke. In any case, the well-oiled engine runs only through back channels and shady networks.”

Nicolas Tenzer has got his feet wet in social media with Twitter accounts @DeskRussie, @RevueLeBanquet, and in the now-defunct magazine THE BANQUET, the journal of the CERAP. He says the recent Mali leadership change was “A classic putsch with Russian fingerprints.”

I find it interesting that Mali’s interim President Colonel Assimi Goïta received much of his military training in America, and working with US Army Special Forces. But, I guess they did not leave any fingerprints. FBI training, no doubt. Readers may find this story about Colonel Goïta interesting, and telling. From the tone of the story by a former US military special forces operator in Mali, if Russia’s fingerprints are all over Assimi Goïta, it’s probably a good thing for the people of Mali.

Meanwhile, Mali’s people suffer more than most of the world’s people. Life expectancy in Mali is just over 50 years, and 30% to 40% of the people do not even have access to clean drinking water. On a side note, it took me exactly one minute to isolate a neo-colonial effort called the Tabakorole Gold Project in Mali. This joint investment by Marvel Gold

Limited and Altus Strategies is the telltale sign of a much bigger gold rush financed by familiar names like Rothschild and other elites who run all these piracy shows. Canadian holding companies are an old tool of the western banksters, so the maple leaf flag on a Mali gold operation is a warning buzzer.

Back to Mali and Macron, who is also one of Rothschild’s poster boys, Nicolas Tenzer says that the “restoration of Franco-Malian cooperation should not be read as an endorsement of Goïta’s regime—but rather a pragmatic response to a sharply deteriorating security situation. He goes on to say that Macron’s recent moves are intended to keep Mali and Chad from slipping into a new love affair with Moscow.

Finally, considering the fate of the people of the Sahel so far, it may be high time all Africans sought out new partners. Mali, for instance, is ranked 184th out of 188 on the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index. Chad is 187th. And it’s certain neither Russia nor China is responsible for putting them there.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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