FeaturedIn The News

Politics of Death – France in CAR and Mali

The so-called war on terror has provided a new justification for French military intervention in Africa. That explains the opposite outcomes of Paris’s recent interventions in the Central African Republic and Mali. The exaggerated counter-terrorism narrative is a boon to French politicians. With presidential elections in May 2017 fast approaching, France is likely to increase its military meddling in Africa.

The long view of French foreign policy in Africa is paved by conflict of interest. Some government officials are tempted to pull out of the continent by fear of accusation of neocolonialism, somewhat incompatible with President Hollande’s definition of the Francafrique. Others, looking forward to reelection, are most preoccupied with appeasing national fears of terrorism by keeping a grip on the Sahel – which they hope will secure them votes from an electorate that begs for heightened national security.

This paradox in policy is best witnessed in the asymmetric reactions to recent French intervention in Mali and the Central African Republic. Civil wars in both countries were taking place at the same time, but French media and public opinion reacted differently to both. The first French intervention, in Northern Mali, was answered with praise and appeal for the government, whilst involvement in the Central African Republic was barely covered, if not overlooked by the French domestic audience. How to explain such a stark divide in public opinion for two similar military stints? Unsurprisingly, it was due to the perceived relationship between the global jihad narrative and domestic security issues, and reinforced by public denial of France’s post-colonial responsibility for conflict in Central Africa.

Continue reading…

The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.

Leave a Reply