Burkina Faso: Junta Ends Military Pact With France

Burkina Faso's government has decided to end a military pact that allowed French troops to fight armed groups in the West African country, its spokesperson Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo stated on Monday.

Burkina Faso: Junta Ends Military Pact With France
Image credit: AP Photo/Kilaye Bationo [via The Soufan Center]

Facts

  • Burkina Faso's government has decided to end a military pact that allowed French troops to fight armed groups in the West African country, its spokesperson Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo stated on Monday.
  • He stated that the military junta and the nation want to be the main actors to take back territory occupied by Islamist militants, and that termination of military cooperation — which was part of the original terms of the collaboration with the French — does not damage diplomatic relations.
  • This comes after France's Pres. Emmanuel Macron on Sunday demanded clarifications from the Burkinabe transitional Pres. Ibrahim Traoré in the wake of initial reports over a potential request for a French withdrawal.
  • State news outlet Agence d'Information du Burkina (AIB) reported on Saturday that the junta had denounced the agreement on Jan. 18, giving France exactly one month to remove its troops from the country according to the terms of the 2018 agreement.
  • This is the latest sign of a deteriorating relationship between Burkina Faso and France since Traoré took over the country in September. Traoré overthrew Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba of the nation's military, who ousted democratically-elected leader Roch Kaboré eight months prior to that.
  • France currently has 400 special forces stationed in Burkina Faso contributing to counter-insurgency efforts in the region and has recently withdrawn from neighboring Mali as the Russian private military Wagner Group increases its foothold in West Africa.

Sources: Al Jazeera, France24, VOA, CNN, Financial Times, and Bloomberg.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Al Jazeera. The deteriorating security crisis in West Africa is primarily the result of the West's decade-long political and military interference under the guise of fighting terrorism. There is hope for the region only when it's no longer possible for the West to pursue its geopolitical interests unchallenged by pretending to "help" in the Sahel.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Soufan Center. Though Western powers can be criticized for their colonial record in West Africa, local authorities must stop blaming the West for today's crises. National leaders must focus on tackling the jihadist insurgency rather than simply use it to justify their undemocratic rule. As Russian actors step up in the region to partner with military juntas, their counterterrorism efforts have proven just as unsuccessful.