France setback in Western Africa

French President Emmanuel Macron has recently announced that France will end its military cooperation with Niger and withdraw its 1,500 troops from the Sahel nation. Following a July coup in the West African country, which overthrow democratically elected Pro-France President Mohammed Bazoum, French President declared that his country would not be held hostage by the Putschist, an open reference to General Abdourahmanae Tiani, who ousted elected government in Niger last month.

France, a former colonial power that ruled almost all western Africa during the 18th centuries, is now rapidly losing its political and economic influence in its former colonies. After the emergence of Al-Shabaab and other sisenster terror groups, several African nations, including Nigar, Burkina Faso, Mali and others struck agreements with Paris for deployment of French Special forces for a train and assist mission to counter terrorist groups in their nations. Unfortunately, a majority of African states failed to curb militancy because of scarcity of resources, poorly trained and ill-equipped militaries along with unceasing tribal conflict which sollowup their resources and weaken their strength. Despite internal weakness and shortcomings, African leaders blamed France for their failures and one by one tied their knot with Russian Wagner groups in the past few years. Interestingly, the Nigar military dictator publicly criticised the Macron government for meddling in the domestic affairs of African nation. While, Niamey has become the epicentre of anti-French protests since the July 26 coup, public rallies gathered regularly calling for the exit of French troops from the country.

Such situations have surely tarnished the image of President Macron and his country at the global level. Therefore, the French President gave a tit-for-tat response to Nigar’s military junta by refusing to recognize the dictator’s rule, pulling back French troops and removing the French Envoy from that nation. Realistically, French influence over its former colonies in West Africa has waned in recent years. French forces have been kicked out of neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso since coups in those countries, which reduced France’s role in the region. In fact the rise of Islamist insurgencies was not only a strategic threat to African nations but was a serious risk for western interests in the region and beyond. However, guest can do nothing if host was not ready, therefore France pulling its troops back but wants a dignified return of its soldiers, which seems to be impossible in current conditions.