“Algerian-Russian” coordination in Mali worries France

Malians demonstrate against France and in support of Russia on the 60th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Mali in 1960, in Bamako, Mali Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. Junta leader and now vice-president of the transitional government Col. Assimi Goita on Tuesday promised to “build a new Mali, a new Malian”. (AP Photo)

The “Algerian-Russian” coordination in Mali worries France. The diplomatic crisis that has been going on for three weeks now between Algiers and Paris after provocative remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron clearly demonstrates the losing side: France.

The newspaper Le Monde described as a “black scenario for Paris” the rapprochement between Algeria and Russia on the Malian file. “Behind the visa tensions between the two countries, which began at the end of September, many areas of friction have accumulated. One of the key elements is the Malian dossier where Algiers could be tempted to support Russia, ”wrote the French newspaper.

According to this French media, what seems to bother French officials the most is not the ban on overflight of their military planes over Algerian skies, but rather “Algeria’s role in Mali” and the potential support for “a strengthening of the role of Russia in Mali”.

Despite the assertion of the spokesperson for the French general staff that “this does not affect operations or intelligence missions”, the newspaper – citing certain sources – underlines the Algerian decision could cause many difficulties. the French army, of which some 5,000 soldiers are deployed in Mali as part of operation “Barkhane” knowing that Macron has decided to withdraw half of it at the end of the current year.

“..The most sensitive issue today for France concerns the role of Algeria in Mali ..”, .. ”but the Malian issue appears to be a key element that has exacerbated the crisis due to a temptation , on the Algerian side, to support a dark scenario for Paris: a strengthening of the role of Russia in Mali ”, one can read in the columns of the newspaper Le Monde.

French media close to their secret services claimed that Algeria might have supported a contract that the Malian authorities would think about with the Russian company Wagner, which Algeria quickly denied.

“Algeria considers Mali, especially the north of the country – which was the first region to come under jihadist rule in 2013 – as its backyard. Algiers was the main mediator of the agreements signed in 2015 between Bamako and armed groups ”, adds the same source.

Recently, the Malian government openly accused Paris of handing over areas of northeastern Mali to terrorist groups and preventing the Malian army from reclaiming them. These are indeed the words of the Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maïga who had accused a few days earlier “France of abandoning Mali in full flight”.

Mohamed Meslem / Translated by: Moussa. K.

Echouroukonline, 10/23/2021