After some hints to the contrary, it turns out French troops in the Sahel aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So said President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on February 16, even before his virtual summit with France’s former-colonial „partners“ – Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Chad – comprising the G5 Sahel Joint Force. Formed in 2014, it’s described in bureaucratic Paris-speak as „an intergovernmental cooperation framework, in order to put forward a regional response to the various challenges.“ In reality, the G5 are little more than a misfit crew of problematic proxies doing the bidding of the French generals leading a seven years-running Operation Barkhane – and that of America’s AFRICOM proconsuls propping-up Paris’s pet forever war in the Sahel.
The „partnership’s“ substance and objectives are still rather nebulous. Apparently, it will be the third attempt since 2013 to strongly enhance the repressive activities. Merkel, in any case, has announced that „the troops and police forces of the G5 countries“ should be each „reinforced nationally.“