Tag Archives | Security policy

The French military in Africa: successes, challenges ahead?

While French president Hollande claims that his French policy in Africa represents a change from that of his predecessor Sarkozy, France is still engaged in two military operations in Africa which both started prior to his presidency, in 2013. Does this apparent contradiction reflect a political will on his part or is it the result of other processes? Tony Chafer is Professor of Contemporary French Area Studies and Director of the Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth. His main research interests lie in French African policy in the colonial and post-colonial periods, French military and security policy in Africa and EU security policy in Africa. He is a Research Associate of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and acts as a consultant to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on French African policy.   France has since January 2013 been engaged in two major new military operations in the Sahel/Sahara, but major problems persist. Operation Serval, the 2013 combined French-Chadian military intervention in Mali, was widely regarded as a military success. On 1 August 2014, Serval came to an end and was replaced by a new, regional Sahel-Sahara military mission, Operation Barkhane, undertaken in partnership with the so-called ‘G5 […]

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France in Mali: myths and realities

The French intervention in Mali in 2013 was portrayed by many commentators at the time as another manifestation of la Françafrique. Tony Chafer argues that framing the intervention in this way is both problematic and misleading. Tony Chafer is Professor of Contemporary French Area Studies and Director of the Centre for European and International Studies Research at the University of Portsmouth. His main research interests lie in French African policy in the colonial and post-colonial periods, French military and security policy in Africa and EU security policy in Africa. He is a Research Associate of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and acts as a consultant to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on French African policy.   Since the 1990s, la Françafrique has become shorthand for a neo-colonial relationship rooted in illicit and often criminal practices designed to maintain France’s ex-colonies in a relationship of dependency with the former metropole. Underpinning this relationship, it is argued, there exists a range of official links that have bound, and in many ways continue to bind, France to its former colonies in sub-Saharan Africa. These include defence and military assistance, economic aid, political, business and cultural links, and the maintenance of a common currency zone, alongside a […]

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