World Macron to reduce French military troops in Africa's Sahel
French military suspension in Mali hits a struggling army
France's decision to freeze joint military operations with Mali following the country's second coup in nine months is a major blow to a weak army fighting ruthless, highly mobile jihadists. The defence ministry in Paris last week announced a "temporary" suspension in military advice and joint operations pending "guarantees" that Mali's ruling military -- which has booted out civilian leaders in charge of a transitional government -- will stage elections in February 2022.
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced the future reduction of France’s military presence fighting Islamic extremism in Africa’s Sahel region.
In a news conference, Macron spoke about the “profound transformation" of France’s military operation in Mali and neighboring countries — without giving a timeframe.
Bystander slaps French President Emmanuel Macron
A bystander slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face as he shook hands with crowd members in the Drome region of southeastern France. © Provided by Washington Examiner A man in a green T-shirt and face mask yelling, "Down with Macronia,” reached his hand to slap Macron’s face, video showed.FRENCH PRESIDENT MOCKS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER FOR HYPOCRISY ABOUT TRUMPWATCH: President Emmanuel Macron receives a slap in the face while greeting people during an official visit in France. Two men have been arrested.What do you make of that?#talkRADIO pic.twitter.
France's Operation Barkhane will formally end, he said, and will be replaced by another mission focused on fighting Islamic extremists that relies more on regional partners.
Details will be unveiled at the end of June, he said, including on the number of troops France is keeping in the region. France now has more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel.
Slap to Macron puts focus on ultra-right groups
PARIS (AP) — Bubbling beneath France’s political landscape is an assortment of ultra-right groups, a subculture that shot to the nation’s attention when a young man slapped President Emmanuel Macron and blurted out a centuries-old royalist cry. Ignored by most people, ultra-rightist groups are considered increasingly dangerous despite their small following and are on the radar of authorities. Numerous arrests have been made and several groups banned, including one this year. Challenges to the French identity are often at the center of their ideologies.
“The final goal is to reduce our multiple military deployments” in the region, he said.
“I’m saying it again: France is in Africa only at the request of Africans ... to fight against terrorism,” Macron added. “But the shape of our presence, an operation abroad involving 5,000 troops, is not adapted any more to the reality of the combats.”
He said France will focus in the future on deploying special forces, in cooperation with other European countries, as part of the so-called Takuba task force that is meant to play an increasing role in the fight against extremists.
The Sahel: Terror, poverty and climate change
With French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announcing a revamp of France's military deployment in the Sahel, we take a look at this deeply troubled region and its role in world politics. - What is it? - The Sahel, meaning coast or shore in Arabic, is a vast region that stretches along the southern rim of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. Wedged between the desert to the north and tropical forests and savannah to the south, the belt has a semi-arid climate.- Where is it? -There is debate over which countries actually belong to the Sahel.
A French top official said it will take several months to implement the changes. Paris will first hold talks with its European and African partners, he said.
Several thousand French troops will remain in the region in total, participating in various operations including the new cooperation mission.
“In the end, the French presence in Sahel will remain significant,” the official said. He was speaking anonymously in accordance with the presidency’s customary practice.
French troops have been present in Mali since 2013 when they intervened to force Islamic extremist rebels from power in towns across the country's north. Operation Serval was later replaced by Barkhane and was expanded to include Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania in an effort to help stabilize the broader Sahel region.
Islamic militants, though, have continued to launch devastating attacks against the militaries fighting them as well as increasingly against civilians. About a week ago, extremists in Burkina Faso launched the deadliest attack in years, leaving at least 132 people dead.
cards. End of Operation Barkhane: Where are the French soldiers in the world?
© Archives The military of the 11th Marine Artillery Regiment, based in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier (Ille-et-Vilaine), regularly participate in external operations. The French soldiers will soon be less numerous in the Sahel and Operation Barkhane will take "end as an external operation," announced Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, June 10th. Before this partial withdrawal, overview of the French military presence in the world. More than 30,000.
Hundreds also have died since January in a series of massacres targeting villages on the border of Niger and Mali.
While governments in the Sahel have embraced France's military help, some critics have likened their presence to a vestige of French colonial rule.
A sense of relief over 'dear Joe' and post-Trump summit era .
BRUSSELS (AP) — Over the four years of Donald Trump's presidency and through the seeming eternity of pandemic misery and isolation, America’s partners in world affairs were waiting to exhale. As they cycled through Group of Seven, NATO and European Union summits over the last week, exhale they did, between bites of haggis mousse, pineapple weed and Dover sole. President Joe Biden — “dear Joe” to the European Commission's chief — engaged fellowAs they cycled through Group of Seven, NATO and European Union summits over the last week, exhale they did, between bites of haggis mousse, pineapple weed and Dover sole.