Why France Bombed Mali? Operation Barkhane Explained
Recently french fighters have bombed Mali. In these airstrikes, 50+ jihadists are believed to be neutralized. So was it the revenge of the Nice terror attacks? Why France bombed Mali? Who authorized France to bomb Mali? We will answer all these questions in this article
” I would like to reveal an operation of great importance which was carried out on October 30 in Mali by the Barkhane force, which was able to neutralize more than 50 jihadists and confiscated arms and material”Florence Parly, French Defence Minister
So was it the revenge of 29 October 2020 terror attack in which three people were killed in a stabbing attack at Notre-Dame de Nice? Yes, definitely it was the revenge quite similar to the Balakot Airstrikes. It was a strong message to radical terrorist groups.
So why France bombed Mali? Who gave France permission to bomb a foreign land? Why didn’t Mali protest? The answer to all these questions is Operation Barkhane.
Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation started on 1 August 2014, Which is led by the French military against Islamist groups in Africa’s Sahel region. the main objective of operation Barkhane is to stabilize this region by eliminating terrorist groups like Boko Haram, IS etc
Operation Barkhane roughly consists of 5000 french soldiers, 260 armoured vehicles, 20 helicopters, 7 fighter jets, a few transport aircraft, and few drones. These men along with the equipment are permanently based in Chad, with headquarters in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
The operation is lead in cooperation with five countries, and former French colonies, that span the Sahel which are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. These countries are collectively referred to as the “G5 Sahel”.
All the G5 countries are facing threatening security challenges from these terrorist groups, mainly Boko Haram. These groups are quite dangerous and are posing a huge threat to the security of this region. These groups brainwash the unemployed youth and turn them into ruthless fighting machines. The G5 countries face the risk of Military coupe from these terrorists.
French Deeper Interests
Although France has publicly said that their main motive in operation Barkhane is to stabilize the region and provide security. According to France, if this region is not stabilized, extremism and radicalization will grow exponentially and would eventually affect and target Europe. All these things will affect the shipping and drilling of oil and gas in the Mediterranean sea.
France still has commercial and political interests in the region. Many French companies have their interest in the Sahel region which worth billions. The State-owned energy company of France, Orano, gets a large proportion of its uranium from Niger.
Total SE – a French multinational oil and gas company founded in1924 and one of the seven “Supermajor” oil companies in the world, has many oil fields in Mali which bring massive revenue to the French government. All these fields have to be protected from the terrorists. French forces also get a strategic advantage of having a military base in Chad.
For these purposes, France is part of Operation Barkhane, but paying a heavy price. All the logistics and maintain troops costs a lot. Moreover, France has lost many soldiers in action. Attacks on french convoys are common. To protect France’s political and commercial interests French soldiers and forces have to pay the price.