The France-Led G5 Sahel is suffering from an existential crisis after Mali’s exit from the Group and the withdrawal of French troops from Mali. To save France’s fortunes, its ally Biden is now going on a charm offensive to stop the Sahel region from turning into an anti-West bastion.
A senior diplomat from the US, Victoria Nuland, is on a four-day visit to the Sahel region. She is trying her best to save the US and its allies from being obliterated by the Russia-backed Wagner group in the Sahel region. Victoria holds the post of U.S. State Department Under Secretary for Public Affairs, and has recently toured the Sahel region to salvage the pitiable situation of US.
According to Nuland, the Malian ruling junta’s decisions, like the choice to collaborate with Wagner, a Russian private security company, have made Mali’s security situation “much worse.”
In its battle against the ten-year Islamist insurgency, Mali’s ruling junta, which took control in 2020, has relinquished its ties with its longtime friend France and embraced Russia.
Following a four-day trip to the Sahel region, Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary of state for political affairs at the US Department of State, told reporters from Washington in an online press briefing that “the United States’ ability to help Mali on the security side is greatly constrained now… by the choice that the Mali government made to get into bed with Wagner.”
Burkina Faso: The last man standing
Ibrahim Traore, the interim president of Burkina Faso, has told American diplomats that he has no plans to enlist Russian Wagner forces to combat insurgents there, according to U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who made the disclosure on Wednesday.
There have been worries that Burkina Faso could follow the example of its neighbor Mali, which late last year hired mercenary fighters from the Russian Wagner organization to support its army’s efforts to combat Islamist insurgents.
According to Nuland, who recently arrived in the United States after a trip to Sahel, security has gotten worse since Wagner arrived in Mali. She added that there have been reports of rights violations and UN peacekeepers being forced out.
But the geopolitical analysts have another overview of the situation. The analysis tells us that the coup was supported by Russia, and Burkina Faso may be the next in line after Mali and Niger to invite the Wagner group onto its soil. A domino effect is visible in the region, that the West desperately wants to stop. The US wants to achieve its goals using AFRICOM and pursue the neo-Scramble for Africa.
The US knows that if the Sahel Region slips out of its hands, other nations may follow suit and that too in an aggressive manner.
Anyway, there is no dearth of reasons for US to feel anxious about its waning influence in Africa. Some of the visible instances are Ethiopia under Abiy Ahmed, Kenya under Ruto, South Africa under Ramaphosa and Sudan under the military leadership, who have made it clear that they prioritize their ties with Russia and not the West. Burkina Faso now stands at the cusp of joining the ranks of these pro-Russia nations. Simply put, US is now at Burkina Faso’s mercy, and if the nation decides to join the Russian camp, USA will lose its influence in Sahel region once and for all.