For years, SOFREP has been monitoring France’s activities in Europe and Africa.

The region has been in the middle of two military regions, Europe (NATO) and Africa, and, understandably, defending its territories could be challenging. But recent decisions of French Emmanuel Macron regarding military deployment leave many questioning his intention and strategies.

In 2020, the French government aimed to cut back on its military presence in the Sahel region to “make room for a stronger European commitment.” This happened after a year of the government spending resources to send their troops to Sahel. The last headcount was about 5,100, who reportedly participated in “Operation Barkhane,” which aims to fight the growing regional jihadist insurgency.

Defense Minister Florence Parly also visited Mali that year to assess the operations in Sahel and Mali. Since 2013, the French forces have been deployed to Mali (a former colony) to fight the Tuareg insurgency.

“[AQIM] is now the most dangerous enemy for Mali and the international forces,” Barkhane commander General Marc Conruyt said.

A year later, France announced that their “enemies have abandoned their territorial ambitions in favor of spreading their threat not only across the Sahal but across all of West Africa,” Macron said during a summit. “Unfortunately this offensive implies increased pressure on all the Gulf of Guinea countries, which is already a reality.”

Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron (Source: Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation/Wikimedia)

“We are going to reorganize ourselves in line with this need to stop this spread to the south, and it will lead to a reduction of our military footprint in the north,” Macron added.

However, even with all the braggadocio of the French military suppressing terrorist groups in Mali and Sahel, they pulled out all their remaining troops last month.