The Sahel Countries: A New Alliance and Changing Dynamics Featured

By Gamal Khattab December 31, 2023 4030

 

The Sahel countries in Africa have formed a new alliance that brings them closer to Moscow and distances them from Paris. These countries, which are geographically close and share common challenges, are ruled by military leaders who came to power through coups. They are now seeking to build blocs that go beyond security and military cooperation to the economic and cultural sphere.

New Independence

The military rulers in the Sahel region are united in their desire to restore independence and change the security and military equation in their countries. They aim to create relationships and sign agreements with new players in the region to benefit from its diverse wealth.

In a speech, the Governor of Burkina Faso, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, emphasized that their struggle for independence is not complete. He stated that their lands are occupied and their economy is faltering. This sentiment resonated with General Abderrahmane Tiani, the head of the ruling military junta in Niger, who announced an alliance with Burkina Faso and Mali to serve the interests of the Sahel region and build a new history for an independent Africa.

Mali, the country where the idea of revolutionary coups originated, has also taken steps towards re-establishing its independence. The new constitution of Mali no longer recognizes French as an official language, symbolizing a cultural liberation.

New Agglomeration

In September 2023, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger signed the Liptago-Gorma Pact to create the "Coalition of Sahel States." This collective framework aims to enhance cooperation and joint defense among the three countries.

These countries have experienced a series of coups, leading to tensions with Paris. The new alliance not only addresses these tensions but also focuses on military and security cooperation to combat armed groups in the region.

The Liptago-Gorma Charter, named after the shared region between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, emphasizes the importance of fighting armed groups that are linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Absence of France

The new Sahel countries alliance marks the end of the Group of Five Sahel countries sponsored by France. Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger withdrew from the group, leaving only Mauritania and Chad as its members.

The leaders of the new alliance have distanced themselves from France and formed closer ties with Russia. This shift in dynamics has led to the withdrawal of French forces and economic investments from the region.

Fill the Gap

Observers believe that Russia is seeking to fill the void left by France's exit from the region. Additionally, the American and Chinese presence in the Sahel region has been increasing, with American forces establishing a base in Niger.

While Mauritania and Chad are unlikely to join the new alliance due to their existing relationships with France, the leaders of the Sahel Alliance believe that loyalty should be based on the higher interests of countries and peoples rather than absolute loyalty to a specific power.

The new alliance among the Sahel countries signifies a shift in dynamics and a desire for greater independence. These countries are seeking to build stronger relationships with new regional and international powers while redefining their relationships with former colonial powers. The future of the Sahel region remains uncertain, but the leaders of the Sahel Alliance are determined to pursue their vision of an independent Africa.

Source: Al Jazeera