Where do we go from here?

Sahel: Operation Barkhane will soon end, so what’s next?

By Benjamin Roger

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Posted on June 29, 2021 13:50

Firefox_Screenshot_2021-06-25T16-11-37.308Z © France’s Operation Barkhane in the Gourma region in March. AFP
France’s Operation Barkhane in the Gourma region in March. AFP

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has announced that the French military presence in the Sahel will undergo a “profound transformation.” Although he has not yet revealed any details about the next military operation, several avenues are being explored.

Eight years after its launch in August 2014, in the wake of Operation Serval in Mali, Operation Barkhane will soon come to an end. This military manoeuvre was considered to be France’s most important external operation of the 21st century and one that yielded mixed results.

Barkhane’s fate was clear over the past few months, as French leaders have been sending out a series of signals. On 10 June, France’s President Emmanuel Macron officially announced what he had already told several of his Sahelian counterparts in recent months.

This modified military presence in no way signals France’s disengagement. Our forces will remain committed to fighting against jihadist terrorism and training partner armies.

“We remain committed to the Sahel, but not through a constant framework,” he said at a press conference that had been organised at the Élysée Palace ahead of a G7 summit in Britain. “We

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