Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali have had a troubled relation with the West so far. The widespread anti-West sentiment that swept the African continent, particularly the Sahel region had led to the withdrawal of the French troops from Mali and then from Burkina Faso. France’s departure from these two countries was also brought about by increasing Russian presence.
In fact, it is not uncommon for the West to blame Russia’s mercenary group Wagner for stoking opposition against it in the African countries. Nevertheless, in a recent development Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali have now come together to form a new “axis” in the African continent.
A new coalition of Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea in Sahel
The three countries are planning a three-way partnership as per reports. All three countries share some of the common problems in the region and have had a troubled relation with the West. All of them ruled by military juntas, have proposed a regional partnership to facilitate trade and tackle insecurity in the region. The Foreign Ministers of the three countries recently met in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou to discuss the collaboration.
The ministers have noted “the need to set up and institutionalise a permanent coordination framework between the three countries”. There is widespread frustration and anger over the insurgency issue in the three countries which had also led to a spate of military coups and also the withdrawal of Western troops from Burkina Faso and Mali.
Burkina Faso has recently asked the French troops to leave the country within a month. This has come after relations between the two countries have steadily deteriorated over the last few months.
Since the current military regime seized power there have been several demonstrations calling for the departure of the French Ambassador and the French troops. In the month of January hundreds demonstrated against France, calling on the French army to “get out”.
Similarly, France had to withdraw its nine-year operation in Mali after relations between the two countries strained as Mali grew closer to Russia. Mali has even accused France of violating its airspace to deliver weapons to armed groups.
Guinea, which has good economic, strategic and diplomatic relations with Russia, has been at the receiving end of Western sanctions. We have previously explained the West’s double standards in its treatment of Chad, which enjoyed the West’s favours for being a puppet & while Guinea faced sanctions!
However, even when Guinea faced sanctions, the Malian junta had shown its support for the country. Similarly, all speculations were proved right when Burkina Faso called for France’s departure from the country, following the footsteps of Mali.
This new alliance will surely be a breath of fresh air for the region as groupings like G5 Sahel have lost relevance today. Will such a grouping be able to bring the much needed socio-economic change in the region or not, is going to be interesting to see.