How France's narrow focus on a military solution in Mali has led to stalemate in region


On Monday November 25th 13 members of the French military were killed when two helicopters crashed in Mali during France's ongoing military operations there. The grim news sparked debates back in France about the country's military involvement in the Sahel region of Africa. But as Mediapart's René Backmann writes, the legacy of France's colonial past and the remnants of its post-colonial approach to the continent known as 'Françafrique' suggest that President Emmanuel Macron's government will be unable to see that military combat against jihadism is not the only response that is needed to tackle the region's instability.

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The death of 13 members of the French military in a collisions between two helicopters in Mali on Monday November 25th led to public mourning and much media coverage back in France. But will it finally start a public and Parliamentary debate about the wider objectives and strategy of Operation Barkhane? This is the name of France's intervention in Mali and the wider Sahel region in Africa which in August 2014 superseded Operation Serval, the military intervention launched by President François Hollande in January 2013.