French forces killed an al-Qaeda leader in Mali. According to the French Defense Minister, he and three others were launching an attack on a UN camp.
This comes the day after the French Prime Minister announced that he would end his anti-terror operation in the country.
-Obviously, there are probably some jihadists who are sitting, rubbing their hands, and thinking: “Now we have finally got rid of the French.”
NUPI researcher Morten Boos follows the situation in Mali closely, and believes that France’s decision in the long term could have serious consequences.
– One can say a lot of strange things about the process. It didn’t effectively fight the jihadists, but it did help Mali prevent it from spreading, he told NRK.
On June 10, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that his country would end Operation Barkhane.
“The time has come for a fundamental change in our military contribution to the Sahel,” French President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference.
Barkhane began in 2014 with the aim of fighting Islamist militant groups in the Sahel region.
55 French soldiers were killed in the operation.
Today, the country has just over 5,000 soldiers in the region. Now they will step aside, while the president calls for more people to contribute: he wants a new international power in the region.
After the news became known, Denmark also announced that it would have consequences for its contribution to the operation.
Norway is not part of it, but it participates in a UN operation in the country.
A new caliphate near Europe?
In May, the NRK met with the Norwegian United Nations forces operating in the country. According to force commander Jens Polstad, terrorist groups have grown in the so-called Sahel belt. The region stretches from west to east in Africa, through countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
Terrorists move across national borders. Then it will be difficult for international forces to ensure the security of citizens. Government forces here in Mali are unable to do this, and terrorist groups are attacking the local population. massacres occur. It’s very tragic,” Ballstad told NRK.
The fear in many Western countries is that Islamic fundamentalists will take over the entire so-called Sahel belt. Then a new radical caliphate could emerge near the European borders.
Defense Minister: – We are following
France’s decision currently has no significance for future Norwegian military contributions.
Defense Minister Frank Buck-Jensen does not answer direct questions about whether France’s termination of the operation would weaken the full defensive capability of forces in Mali, but wrote in an email to NRK that they are following developments in the country closely:
We have a good dialogue with France and other close allies and partner countries on how best we can contribute to solving the challenges in the Sahel.
Back-Jensen also stresses that Norway will continue to do so Support the United Nations operation in the region.
If France withdraws completely, this could have dire consequences.
– In the long run, this can lead to the collapse of the state in the region, and then the European Union can only forget about agreements with these countries that will help reduce immigration, says Morten Boos.
The NUPI researcher says it’s almost certain that France will be fully packed.
He thinks they might come out with this now to put pressure on other countries. Both countries in the region, as well as other European countries previously refused to participate in France’s operations in Mali. France is also leading Operation Takoba, which helps the Malian army better deal with the terrorist threat in the region.
According to Reuters, details of the downsizing are expected to be ready by the end of June.
In a radio interview on Friday, June 11, the country’s Defense Minister Florence Parly said the country will continue to fight terrorism in the region.
“We just want to change the way we do it,” she told France Info radio.