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Mali coup brings the blues for Barkhane

6th October 2020 - 17:00 GMT | by Samuel Beal in Oxford

The recent coup in Mali raises further questions over the future of the French-led mission against jihadis in the Sahel

Optimism surrounding the French-led counter-insurgency mission in the Sahel seems to be in short supply. Only two months after President Emmanuel Macron proclaimed victory was within reach following a slew of ‘spectacular results’ in Operation Barkhane, the democratically elected government in Mali succumbed to a swift military putsch on 18 August.

Western officials worry that the resulting political paralysis is providing a catalyst for  jihadist violence and exacerbating an increasingly intractable military situation.

Jihadist groups are entrenched in the vast and ungoverned borderlands between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The Western troop presence has steadily increased since 2014 – France now ...

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