After having maintained a certain ambiguity on a reduction in the number of French soldiers in Mali and the Sahel, Macron ruled on February 16, during the meeting of the G-5 Sahel [Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger], that there was no question of reducing the French military presence, while “at the same time”, stepping up the military operations “to try to behead” the jihadist organizations.
This decision has serious consequences, first of all for the peoples of the G-5 countries, where the rejection of the French presence continues to be expressed, in the streets, in discussions, on the airwaves and the media, even if the leaders of these countries are trying to contain them. This means more military operations, resulting in civilian deaths and destruction of all kinds. Two million displaced people are already living in the greatest misery and precariousness, with the only help being the solidarity of the populations of the host regions and the support organizations.
It also means that Macron and his government are relying on the military hierarchy to declare “victories”, if possible swiftly, in terms of the elimination of leaders of the armed groups. It is the passage from a “war against terrorism” which also claimed, certainly fraudulently, to have a social and political dimension, to a “dirty war”. This is interested only in results, “whatever it costs”, without taking into account for one moment that these armed groups are increasing their influence among the populations, because they are being neglected at all levels.
Macron will not stop the rise of criticism against this war, the military engagement and the goals set. Added to this is the authoritarianism with which decisions are made, symbolized by the “council of defense” which decides in a small committee on everything: health policy, the war in Africa, etc.
The battle for the withdrawal of French troops does not end with Macron’s announcements, on the contrary. We must work for this demand to be taken up in the workers’ and people’s movement, in the trade union movement, among the youth, etc.
The first unitary expression initiatives that have taken place (such as those of February 4 and 13 in Toulouse) show that they are having a response.
This demand should be brought up in all mobilizations and be displayed on the walls.
Paris, February 18, 2021
Communist Workers Party of France