As often happens in this country, attention to international policy choices is non-existent; it follows like the stumbling blind of Brügel. The practice of country shrewdness always presents shipments abroad with modestly humane, humanitarian, civil protection accents: training ramshackle police, hospitals to defend. In the event, helicopters and special forces would assist the wounded on the battlefield. In short, a red cross with machine gunners. But those are the countries of migrants, someone remembers. In fact, we answer, so we help them stay at their home.
Better to say it right away. The war being fought in those places, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and of which we will automatically become accomplices in front of the populations that suffer it, is a French war of colonial pacification, a mosaic of fierce local conflicts: hatred between peasants and nomads , tribal aversions, zoological struggles for water, poor against less poor, full and fast, naked and dressed. The jihadists wallow in us, they have become a part of it, they sew these rivalries on themselves, they throw on us the hasty cloak of God. To commit atrocities, to liquidate opponents or uncomfortable ethnic groups, obviously behind the ruthless necessities of the war on jihadism, are also the corrupt governments, feuded by France, which we are going to shore up. Example: Burkina Faso. Who knows if in Rome they know that it has become a place of executions of civilians buried in hasty mass graves in the sand, completely presumed jihadists found on the track with their wrists tied, bodies riddled with machine guns, without trial, without accusations? The military, our allies, settle accounts with the Peul, nomadic shepherds of light skin like the Tuaregs, other designated victims. Security becomes indiscriminate slaughter: already seen, alas. Who knows if at the foreign ministry they have ever heard of peul, of their herds of dying cows, of their funny straw hats. The Sahara jihadists, thanks to misery, eternal recruiter, have proselytized among them. Certainly not mass. But what is the cause-effect relationship? Do “conversions” come before or after the abuses and the violence suffered? Delicate conundrum. It is decisive.
We then cross this area of the Sahel where counter-terrorism has become a financial and diplomatic income for putrid regimes, false independence who plunder their peoples under the benevolent eye of the République, eternal master of everything, economy, security, politics. Please leave the capitals where our president’s visits stopForeign ministers, enchanted by the smiles of picturesque local leaders in boubou. It would be embarrassing to check their biographies of unpresentable democrats: fraudulent elections, looting clans, bank accounts fueled with development aid, European contributions to stop migrants, to modernize armies against jihad. Yes, even those steal.
Away from the wealthy neighborhoods where the greens end, the air conditioning the embassies and banks as big as cathedrals, obviously all “for development”. We overcome endless suburbs of shacks and huts where old men with teary eyes and children in rags observe us, silent, as guardians of the dead. The Niger River lags behind, seems to waver over stretches of clear sands, keeping green and life beside it. An elementary panorama awaits us, a pattern of more or less leveled plains, endless sequences of the huge desert dirt road. Then they rise, going up to the North, strings of ever-higher rocky ridges, mountains good for scenes of final judgment, adorned only with stones and bushes of leathery miserable plants, covered with dust, one would say hung from a perennial death. It runs across deserted slopes, dotted with abandoned villages that seem to have turned their eyes off.
The latest version of Al-Qaeda
We will face the war here: the hot air, which seems to decompose bodies and souls. The saline gray shimmer of the stony ground is dizzying, one has the impression of proceeding with small swirls of bright silver. What are those silhouettes that shine and then suddenly disappear and then become more visible and threatening? Pick up of the Islamic state of the Great Sahara? Or drug traffickers traveling north? Desperate cabotage migrants? Or a column of gold miners who run to Tchibarakaten and the myth of wealth: a kilo of metal that is sold for 40 thousand euros in Dubai, they who live in a country where wages are 45 euros. No drone can help you in this immensity. We must go and see. The glint flickers away, becomes smaller, is lost in a backwash of dust.
The Sahel dirty war: peul tuareg dogon massacres self-defense teams torn and ferocious armies like traffickers who have the Koran in their pockets and also joining the “Support Group for Islam and Muslims”, the last reincarnation of Al-Qaeda in the Sahara.
Feel the squalor of a country at war, an infection so serious that it seems to corrupt the earth and deprive it of color and sounds. This is not a battlefield, if anything, a place where murders, excess revenge, dirty trafficking are committed. France is here because it feels mistress, the last place in the world where you still don’t feel like a small town of pensioners, decoction companies and yellow vests. Africa is ours, allons enfants!
Hollande or Macron or the diplomats of the Quai d’Orsay do not command here. This is the property of the generals, what Napoleon called “les muratiens”, all braveria and no head, who see the world as a slightly larger barracks. Generals love simple ideas, they are inspired by Laterguy’s novels. That many revolts in the Sahelian courtyard hide not the jihadist hate shops but above all the eloquent rubble of bad governance is of no interest. Total war and a little help, a few wells dug here and there, an infirmary obviously not entrusted to those bunglers of cooperation but to the military: the soldier who takes care of a child, perfect for the cover of Paris Match. France defends its illusions here. But we?