Former French Defense Minister Charles Mellon said that his country’s failure in Mali, after nine years of military intervention to expel terrorists, started from the Libyan situation that erupted following the intervention of former President Nicolas Sarkozy in the Libyan crisis, and the return of the “hard core” from Libya to Bamako.
In an interview with Mondafricque on Sunday the Defense Minister of former French President Jacques Chirac enumerated France’s mistakes in Mali, which began with Nicolas Sarkozy launching a war in Libya, adding: “When Colonel Muammar Gaddafi fell, (Tuareg) recruits returned in The Libyan army to their country of origin is heavily armed; To form, especially in northern Mali, the hard core of terrorist groups,” as he put it.
As for what he described as “other collateral damage,” after the end of the Libyan regime, it is allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to enter Africa, reminding that “Moscow now has major oil fields in Libya,” according to him.
The former French defense minister added that the other mistake was that the army did not go out quickly to put out the terrorists’ fire, as it should have acted as a firefighter, and prepared for its exit very quickly, as the French soldiers who were welcomed in 2013 were seen as “liberators”, but After nine years, they are seen as an “occupation army,” pointing out that the French soldiers have become a suitable “scapegoat” for the local armies, which fell in the face of armed groups, while their soldiers were killed, saying that it is “similar to what happened in Afghanistan for the Americans.”
It is noteworthy that Charles Mellon settled in his position for two years as defense minister during the era of former French President Jacques Chirac, who ruled the country from 1995 to 2007.
And earlier on Saturday, a number of Malian citizens went out in Bamako, to celebrate the exit of French soldiers from the country, following statements by President Emmanuel Macron, at the European-African Summit in the Belgian capital, Brussels, that this withdrawal, which he announced Thursday, will be carried out in an “orderly manner.”
On Friday, the ruling military council in Mali asked France to withdraw “without delay” its soldiers from the country, where about 2,400 French soldiers are deployed in Mali, out of 4,600 in the Sahel region.