“Backstabbing for Beginners” is a classic movie which takes us through the story of America’s invasion of Iraq and other major events. There is a moment in the film where the dialogue comes about saving the world.
Well this dialogue is the epitome of backstabbing. It’s an art which cannot be easily perfected, especially when you have to use it again and again. But it seems like the West is an expert in it. Recently Mali’s Prime Minister announced at the United Nations that Mali was “stabbed in the back” by France in the midst of a mission. And we are here to explain to you how the French did it.
France is a major colonial power in the continent of Africa. During the Scramble for Africa, France was one of the biggest gainers in the continent. It nearly controlled 30-40% of Africa with Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mauritania, Ivory Coast and many other countries. In the past there were French boots on the ground which used to conduct and make sure everything’s under control and its forces are still in some of these nations.
But the renewed way of controlling the regions is through mercenary groups. Allegedly, France founded a mercenary group of its own. The group’s name was smartly termed “Operation Barkhane” in order to portray it as an operation led by the French Military, whereas it is a mission consisting of mercenaries. It is France’s largest overseas operation which requires at least a budget of 600 million Euros per year.
Barkhane was formed in order to fight islamists and terrorists in the Sahel region. For this purpose a group was also formed which was named as G5 Sahel consisting of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger (the G5). But Mali decided to exit the group when France unanimously decided to withdraw its troops in the midst of an ongoing anti-jihadist mission. Mali felt betrayed on its part and decided to withdraw its support to the G5 Sahel group as the President of Mali stated that G5 Sahel is failing at its mission of fighting and eliminating Terrorism from the Sahel region. There are reports also that France’s Barkhane was found to be hand in glove with the islamists to maintain its ground in the Sahel region but the French always denied it.
With the exit of Mali, which was a member of G5 Sahel, the credibility of the group and that of France went spiraling down.
This is where Wagner Group comes into the picture. Mali was in talks with Russia’s PMC Wagner from mid-2021 but the talks finalized in 2022 and Mali is now fighting the terrorists in the country with the Wagner Group. The Wagner rescued Mali from falling into the vicious trap of terrorism by taking the terrorists head on. Its expertise came in handy, which it gained from fighting during different escalations.
In this backdrop recently the leader of military junta and head of the Mali, Col. Assimi Goita, had a telephonic conversation with the Russian President Vladimir Putin to further strengthen ties between the two countries. After holding the call with Mr. Putin the Malian leader stated, “I had a rich telephone conversation with H.E. Vladimir Putin. We discussed ways and means to strengthen bilateral cooperation, especially economic and security.” (sic)
Mali also has strong defense relations with Russia. In August the country took delivery of more than six L-39 and SU-25 fighters, Mi-8 helicopters, an Airbus Casa 295 tactical transport plane, and other weapons and ammunition.
Mali is just playing a time game with the West. What Mali is currently doing, it could’ve done earlier but it was waiting for the result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict. And the results are out now. Four regions of Ukraine are now assimilated in the Russian Federation. The West’s grip is loosening on Africa whereas Russia has a strong hold over the continent. The African countries are now realizing that there is nothing in siding with the West as they will get nothing in return but servitude. This is turning into a phenomenon as Russia’s influence is widening all over the continent. Ultimately, Mali has fired the shot in the air that West’s time in the continent is over and it should walk back into its own resource-poor territories or the consequences will be oily.