Security policies of France in West Africa

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Geert Laporte, ECDPM
Seminar on Security policies in West Africa National Defence Academy, Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management, Vienna, 18-19 April 2013

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Security policies of France in West Africa

  1. 1. Security Policies ofFrance in West AfricaSeminar on Security policies in West AfricaNational Defence Academy, Institute for PeaceSupport and Conflict Management, Vienna, 18-19 April 2013Geert Laporte, Deputy Director, European Centre forDevelopment Policy Management
  2. 2. 1. Short history of French securityinterests in Africa2. Changes in new rules of the game3. Motives for French intervention in Mali4. Short-term gains5. Possible long-term implications6. Quid the EU?7. Quid AU and ECOWAS?8. Lessons learntStructure of presentationPage 2
  3. 3. • Strong post-colonial ties with francophone Africa(“Francafrique”- “protection of African dictators inreturn for minerals”)• Various interventions to save or remove regimessince 1960s• Major french bases in CI, Burkina Faso, Chad,Gabon• Since more than 2 decades: “ time to move awayfrom Francafrique” - “immoral and outdated”.• Sarkozy: scaling down French troops• Hollande: “France should stop playing gendarme inAfrica”Short history of Frenchsecurity interests in AfricaPage 3
  4. 4. • December 2012: French refusal to intervene inCentral African Republic…• …January 2013: French intervention in Mali asepicentre of post- Libya instability• Fear of spill-over effects in the region if Malianstate implodes• Need to move fast + unilateral action but withapproval of international community (UNresolution- unanimous support SecurityCouncil)New rules of the gamecan quickly changePage 4
  5. 5. • Security motives: stopping jihadistmovements “at EU doorstep”,preventing destabilisation of the region• Economic motives: secure energyresources (uranium Niger, potential oilin Mali,..) and deter rival powers(China-BRICS)• Illegal trafficking (drugs)• Hostage crisisMotives for Frenchintervention in MaliPage 5
  6. 6. • Stop Jihadists and prevent take-overBamako and collapse Mali• Re-affirmation of French military powerin Africa• Praise and backing public opinion inFrance, Mali and elsewhere inAfrica/world• Test for foreign policy approach ofHollandeShort-term gainsPage 6
  7. 7. •Neighbouring states could be drawn in conflict(Algeria, Niger, Libya, …)?•Reprisal attacks against French targets in WestAfrica (30,000 French) and domestic retaliationin France?•Sahel: new battleground of global jihadism•Long term insurgery war with terrorists (tacticalwithdrawal jihadists and regrouping)?•No clear French exit and long term strategyLong-term implications (1)?Page 7
  8. 8. •Is France willing to also invest in taking awaythe underlying causes and breeding ground forextremism (= poverty, injustice, poorgovernance, violence, state fragility, corruption)and to invest in post conflict peace building?•Military action alone will not end the crisis in Mali•Short-term quick fix should be complementedwith structural actionsLong-term implications (2)?Page 8
  9. 9. • Comprehensive Sahel strategy with ambitioussecurity dimension• Ashton “absent” after intervention of France• Focus on development and long term statereconstruction + training Malian armed forces• EU should move beyond image of soft power• BUT, EU institutions Post Lisbon not equippedto make EU a stronger and faster playerQuid the EU?Page 9
  10. 10. • ECOWAS-AU Plan for promoting inclusivedemocratic process, reforming defence and securitysector, restoring territorial integrity, addressingchallenges facing wider Sahel with support of UN,EU• November 2012: agreement on coordinatedmilitary intervention but deployment only foreseenin …September 2013• Exterme dependency for peace operations on donorfundingQuid the African side?Page 10
  11. 11. •Mali crisis is a regional issue requiring regionalapproach with regional institutions in the lead•Military intervention should be followed by non-military action (structural development)•Great need for more coherent EU post crisisengagement•Foreign intervention can only succeed ifobjectives fit in with local dynamics= Mali standsor falls with a credible government which doesnot existLessons learntPage 11
  12. 12. Thank you!www.ecdpm.orggl@ecdpm.orgPage 12

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