Macron and his G5 Lackeys plan to intensify their colonialist “Operation Barkhane”
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 15 January 2020, www.thecommunists.net
1. French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania (the so-called “G5 states”) held a summit on 13 January in the southwestern French town of Pau in order to coordinate their efforts “to fight against terrorism” in the region. They decided to create a new structure, named “Coalition for the Sahel”, which brings the G5 states, French forces and any future troops under a single command. It aims to enable joint operations, greater intelligence-sharing and quicker response time in particular for French forces. In a joint declaration, they reaffirmed their “determination to fight together against the terrorist groups.” They also expressed their gratitude toward the “crucial help” of the United States and appealed to the Trump Administration not to withdraw its troops from the region. Macron also tries to involve other European states to join this imperialist “Coalition for the Sahel” and to send troops to West Africa.
2. Furthermore, Macron announced that France will send an extra 220 soldiers to West Africa. This comes in addition to the 4,500 French soldiers already stationed in the region as part of the so-called Operation Barkhane. This is operation is a military campaign led by French imperialism and which also involves thousands of African troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Contrary to the claims of these state leaders this operation has nothing to do with “human rights”, “freedom” or “justice”. Its purpose is rather to secure the political and economic interests of French imperialism and other Great Powers in the region and to keep the local ruling classes in power. In addition, the campaign shall stop refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea and entering Europe.
3. It is the ordinary people in the ground who suffer the brutal consequences of this imperialist campaign. According to Maureen Magee of the Norwegian Refugee Council more than 80,000 people had to flee last year in Mali because of the military operations.
4. It is therefore hardly surprising that popular resistance against the French and G5 troops is growing. Hundred of G5 troops have already died in battles with rebels. Last November, France suffered a humiliating blow when 13 soldiers died during a combat mission. It was France’s worst single loss of troops for 36 years. On 10 January hundreds of people gathered in Mali's capital, Bamako, to protest against the presence of foreign troops, carrying posters reading: "Down with France, Barkhane must leave" and "France is a brake on our development."
5. The French imperialists are fully aware that the African peoples despise the presence of the Operation Barkhane troops and consider them as colonial occupiers. As a result, Paris is increasing its pressure on the G5 state leaders to clamp down on such opposition. During a visit to Niger's capital, Niamey, last month Macron complained of a lack of "clear political condemnation of anti-French feelings" on the ground. He said: "I see opposition movements, groups, who denounce the French presence as a neo-colonial, imperialist," adding he was loath to send soldiers to countries where their presence was not "clearly wanted".
6. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly condemns the decisions of the summit in Pau to intensify the military intervention in Western Africa. We denounce the Operation Barkhane / “Coalition for the Sahel” as a campaign to safeguard the rule of imperialist France and other Great Powers as well as the local capitalist classes. It is an imperialist campaign to secure the exploitation of the region’s vast raw material by the multinational corporations. It is a racist campaign to stop African people to enter Europe.
7. While the RCIT is opposed to the political ideology of petty-bourgeois nationalism and Islamism, we support the local resistance against the French imperialist intervention as a just and legitimate struggle. We call for “Open Borders” and defend the right of people from the South to enter Europe. We call for an international solidarity campaign against the imperialist intervention in West Africa. Western Africa can only be free when the imperialist troops and monopolies are expelled and when the capitalist system will be replaced by a socialist society!
* Down with the Operation Barkhane / “Coalition for the Sahel”! Expel all imperialist troops!
* Defeat the imperialist forces and their G5 lackeys! Victory to the popular resistance!
* Open the Borders – Refugees are welcome in Europe!
* For a united and socialist Africa free from imperialist oppression and capitalist exploitation!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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For the RCIT's analysis of Africa and the imperialist intervention we refer readers to our numerous articles and statements that are published on our website at: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/
In particular we refer to:
RCIT: French Imperialism Lick its Wounds. 13 French soldiers died in Mali during colonialist combat mission, 29 November 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/mali-french-imperialism-lick-its-wounds/
RCIT: Somalia: Drive Out the AMISOM and Western Occupation Forces! Daring Guerilla Attack against U.S. Army Base and EU Military Convoy, 30 September 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/somalia-drive-out-the-amisom-and-western-occupation-forces/
RCIT: Manifesto for the Revolutionary Liberation of Black Africa, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/manifesto-for-the-revolutionary-liberation-of-black-africa/