Challenged by a String of Military Coups, France’s Influence in Africa Is Declining Fast – Will Paris and the Western Powers Fight for It?

Back row: coup leaders in Gabon. Front row, leaders in Niger, France and Mali.

French President Emmanuel Macron has a formidable capacity to hang on to power, even though his tenure as head of state has been plagued with turmoil, from never ending Yellow Vests marches to widespread protests over his Pension reform, up until the shocking race riots following the police killing of a teenager in a traffic stop.

When it comes to Foreign Policy, things have been just as rocky, from his fruitless mediation of the conflict in Ukraine up until his snubbing on the BRICS meeting.

But very possibly the worse defeat in this area is the complete debacle of the French influence in West Africa, mainly in the sahel, a semi-arid region between the Sahara desert to the north and the savannas to the south.

Now, in parallel, many former colonies are breaking away from Paris’ sphere of influence, raising the scary specter of war in the region.

As the ECOWAS countries, led by France’s ally Nigeria, vow to intervene to ‘restore democracy’ in Niger, another coup d’état takes place in Gabon – another country seemingly about to sever ties with France.

Reuters reported:

“Military officers in oil-producing Gabon said they had seized power on Wednesday and put President Ali Bongo under house arrest, stepping in minutes after the Central African state’s election body announced he had won a third term.

The officers, who said they represented the armed forces, declared on television that the election results were cancelled, borders closed and state institutions dissolved, after a tense vote that was set to extend the Bongo family’s more than half century in power.”

In a move that shocked Western powers, hundreds of people in the streets of the Gabonese capital Libreville celebrated the military’s intervention.

Delusional French press: ‘ In Gabon, Ali Bongo can always count on his army’.

The African Union and of course France, that was Gabon’s former colonial ruler – and which has troops stationed there – condemned the coup.

The turmoil in Gabon follows the latest military coup in Niger, in July. Military officers have also seized power in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad.

“‘I am marching today because I am joyful. After almost 60 years, the Bongos are out of power’, said Jules Lebigui, a jobless 27-year-old who joined crowds in Libreville.

Bongo took over in 2009 on the death of his father Omar, who had ruled since 1967. Opponents say the family has done little to share the state’s oil and mining wealth with its 2.3 million people.”

The coup adds uncertainty for France’s presence in the region. With about 350 troops in Gabon, Paris fears it will face the same fate as in Mali and Burkina Faso, where its forces have been expelled after coups.

French miner Eramet said it had halted operations in the manganese mines in Gabon, and fears mount now that the same will happen to Oil companies TotalEnergies and Perenco.

The coup in Gabon came after widespread concerns about fraud in the weekend election. A lack of international observers, suspension of foreign broadcasts, cut internet services and a night-time curfew after the vote are among the criticized measures.

Bongo’s team rejected allegations of fraud.

Meanwhile, the situation in Niger gets even more acute. Two ultimatums have expired. One, by the ECOWAS countries, demanded that the president Bazoum be reinstated by the junta. The other, by the coup leaders, demanded that the French ambassador leave Niger.

Both ultimatums were ignored.

Associated Press reported:

“French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that France’s ambassador is staying at his post in Niger despite being asked to leave by the ruling junta, speaking out firmly against the coup leaders while insisting that France is not Niger’s enemy.

Since ousting Niger’s democratically elected president a month ago, the junta has been exploiting grievances among the population toward former colonial ruler France, and has turned to Russian mercenary group Wagner for help.”

Read more about Niger here:

Niger: France and Russia Struggle for Influence in the Major Uranium Producer – African ‘Democracies’ Threaten Military Action, and the ‘Coup Association’ Nations Vow To Defend Nigerian Neighbors

Macron has dismissed concerns that standing up to the junta could be dangerous.

“’Our policy is the right one. It depends on the courage of President Mohamed Bazoum, the commitment of our diplomats, of our ambassador on the ground who is remaining despite pressure’, Macron told a gathering of French ambassadors in Paris.

French Ambassador Sylvain Itte was asked to leave Niger within 48 hours in a letter Friday from the Nigerien Foreign Ministry that accused him of ignoring an invitation for a meeting with the ministry. The letter also cited ‘actions of the French government contrary to the interests of Niger’.”

France still has about 1,500 troops in Niger. Military cooperation has been suspended since the coup.

And that’s not all – in Mali, the United Nation Peacekeeping force is getting sent out of the country, and fast, too.

The unexpected demand for the departure of UN mission MINUSMA, was made by Mali back in June.  The force had been there for a decade.

Al-Jazeera reported:

“The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Mali has sped up its withdrawal from the city of Ber in the north after a surge in fighting.

The UN mission, known as MINUSMA, said in a statement on Sunday that ‘deteriorating security’ had made its departure urgent.

‘MINUSMA has brought forward its withdrawal from Ber due to the degradation of security in the area and the high risks that brings for our Blue Helmets’, the force said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

‘It urges all concerned parties to refrain from any actions that could further complicate the operation’.”

MINUSMA had about 11,600 troops and 1,500 police officers in the country.

The Tuareg-led northern rebel alliance CMA accused Malian forces and Russian Wagner PMC troops of violating a ceasefire.

Read more about Macron here:

Macron Depression: Globalist Leader Survives Many Crises, While French Influence Collapses in Africa – Snubbed at BRICS Meeting, He Is Object of Internet Rumor About an Affair With Canada’s Trudeau

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Paul Serran is a Brazilian writer and musician, completing his first year as a contributor to The Gateway Pundit. He has written books, articles, TV programs, documentaries, plays. He joined the 'Information war' in 2017 and started writing for an international - predominantly American - audience. Unbanned in X | Truth Social | Telegram Channel

You can email Paul Serran here, and read more of Paul Serran's articles here.

 

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