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The End of French Hegemony in Sahel: Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Form Coalition


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Creation of Sahel Countries Coalition Marks the End of French Hegemony in West Africa

The recent establishment of the Sahel countries coalition, consisting of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, is seen as a significant blow to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and a clear indication of the end of French dominance in the region, according to Algerian strategy and security expert Ahmed Mezab. The coalition aims to create a collective defense architecture, with any attack on one member being considered aggression against all, requiring the assistance of all parties, including military force if necessary. Additionally, the coalition is committed to combating terrorism and organized crime within its member countries.

Challenges and Similarities Faced by the Coalition

The formation of the Sahel States Alliance reflects the shared challenges and threats experienced by Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, including those posed by ECOWAS itself. These countries also share similar political conditions following recent military coups. The presence of French forces in the region has had an impact on regional stability, particularly in the fight against terrorism and organized crime, as well as ethnic conflicts. Therefore, the three countries are keen on cooperation and coordination, particularly in combating terrorism.

Economic Cooperation Needed for Independence

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Given the economic situation and limited military capabilities of the participating countries, securing funding for the coalition poses a challenge. However, the fact that the coalition relies on internal financing allows for greater independence. Nonetheless, economic cooperation between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso is crucial if they wish to reduce their dependence on ECOWAS and assert their own influence in the region.

Limited Expansion of the Coalition

The current tripartite alliance is unlikely to expand to include additional members. The coalition was formed due to shared borders, common challenges, and threats. Unless there is a desire to replace or establish an alternative organization parallel to ECOWAS, it is unlikely that other countries will join. An invasion of Niger by ECOWAS would lead to long-term regional conflict and its consequences.

Recent Political Developments in the Region

In recent months, military coups and political turmoil have affected several countries in the region. In Niger, the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum and the formation of the National Council for the Defense of the Fatherland drew condemnation from Western countries and ECOWAS. Mali also experienced a military takeover, with the arrest of interim President Ba Ndaw and Prime Minister Mokhtar Wani. Burkina Faso witnessed the dismissal of its transitional government by a group of army officers led by Captain Ibrahim Traore.

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