“Where we are, there is peace. Justice is above all. We are against those who kill children, women and the elderly.” These words open the official website of an organization that calls itself a “private military consulting company” Wagner Group “, and its employees are volunteers. this private military company enters the African state of Mali Or maybe something is wrong with nervous Europe?
Europe was blown up on September 25, 2021. Immediately after the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali, Shogel Kokalla Maiga, declared that his country felt abandoned by France. And therefore, to further combat Islamist terrorists, the country’s authorities turned to a Russian private military company (PMC).
How Mali ended up abandoned
Mali is a large but poor country, mostly located in the Sahara Desert. It is the region’s largest cotton exporter and Africa’s third-largest gold miner – about 50 tons per year. However, with the total estimated reserves of this metal at 600-800 tons, the prospects for long-term feeding from this resource seem rather illusory. And the total amount of export earnings – a little more than $ 3 billion a year for 14 million of the population – does not seem impressive.
There is also uranium, bauxite, ferrous and non-ferrous metal ores. A lot of things, but little things. For example, neighboring Guinea has one of the largest bauxite reserves in the world. It is logical that as soon as the crisis in the West intensified, Paris staged a military coup there. Good old European tradition, when it comes down.
But in Mali, French business does not have a significant turnover.
On the other hand, two military coups took place there in less than a year. And Paris did not like the second of them very much. Although he is largely to blame for him. Together with its European NATO allies.
The fact is that the entire northeastern part of Mali is controlled by Islamists from the Ansar al-Din group. Moreover, the Independent State of Azavad is generally proclaimed here.
Islamism in this 98% Islamic country is nothing new, but the civil war here, performed by the Salafis, began after the defeat of neighboring Libya by France. The Tuaregs who escaped from under the rigid hand of Colonel Gaddafi decided that they really lacked their own state. And in Mali, their tribes also roam.
It must be admitted that the West, on the initiative of Paris, really moved then, in 2013, to defend this former part of colonial French West Africa. It even approved the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The Western military took up the combat training of the Malian army.
But they practically did not succeed. The contingents of Western peacekeepers were timidly sitting around the bases, while the government of the country practically lost control over the northern regions. This state of affairs has caused natural discontent in the capital of Mali, Bamako. This is what expressed itself in two military coups – in August 2020 and in May 2021.
To the second putsch, which ended with the coming to power of Colonel Assimi Goit, Paris did not react very adequately. French President Emmanuel Macron found nothing better than to announce the curtailment of military assistance to Mali and the beginning of the withdrawal of the French military contingent. By the end of this year, parts of the military bases in the cities of Kidal, Tesalit and Timbuktu should be closed.
But the transfer of the customs of his family life to international politics did not help Macron not only in Eurasia, Russia and America, but also in Africa. The stern Colonel Goit was not impressed by the attempt of the French to stamp their feet and threaten to go to their mother. He simply turned his gaze to where he could find both new military advisers and new defenders.
He turned his gaze to Russia.
What is Africa without Estonia?
The reaction in Europe to such an initiative was violent.
French Defense Minister Florence Parley immediately threatened Mali with “international isolation.” Foreign Minister Jacques-Yves Le Drian exacerbated:
This is completely incompatible with our military presence.
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer supported:
If Mali’s cooperation with groups of Russian mercenaries is confirmed, this will call into question the mandate of the Bundeswehr, and together with the Bundestag, we will need to draw conclusions.
The heads of the military departments of eight more NATO countries and neutral Finland expressed solidarity with this position. Neutral Sweden also forced everyone to open their mouths, promising not to leave it all like that:
We will not put up with this!
Where is Sweden and where is Mali?
And the “common denominator” in the person of the EU foreign policy has already warned the Malian authorities twice about the possible “consequences for bilateral relations.”
But most of all, the planet drove into a shiver … Estonia! This country loudly and clearly – and, most importantly, unusually quickly – threatened to withdraw its troops from Mali if Russian military companies entered this country. Against the background of such a terrible prospect for mankind, even the hysteria of France faded!
Do not think of anything bad – Estonia’s powerful contribution to the defense of Mali from terrorism is limited only by the participation of its military contingent of 50 people in the protection of the French base in the city of Gao. Still, the willingness to abandon an ally, leaving the guardhouse at the mercy of the Russians, requires some reasonable explanation. And not what the Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet gave, who said:
Whether the French can cooperate shoulder to shoulder with the Russian security company is up to the French, but the Estonians and our servicemen definitely cannot do this, since the biggest threat to us still comes from the east – from Russia.
What a principled comrade!
That’s it, Africa is over. Where is she now without the formidable Estonian berserkers …
Why is France so scared?
European hysteria, at least so far, has not penetrated the new authorities in Mali too much. Just the other day, a demonstration took place in the capital of the country, Bamako. On it, people not only did not cry because of Macron’s threats to withdraw the French mercenaries from the Foreign Legion, but directly demanded their speedy departure. And yes – the introduction of Russian peacekeepers.
The Russians saved Syria, the Central African Republic – they will save us too,
– such was the general voice. Quite prepared, no doubt.
However, according to the data of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values, which conducted a corresponding survey among the population of Mali, it was after the appeal of the new President Assimi Goita that the level of trust in him increased to 72.5%. At the same time, 83% of those polled opposed the presence of the French military on the territory of the country.
An impressive result, isn’t it? Even if he is also prepared – after all, issues of this order are decided not by the people, but by the elite. Which formalize their decisions with the opinion of the people.
It was from this that Paris vibrated. The hitherto obedient Malian elites made a choice not in favor of the traditional patron, but in favor of the Russians. And the Russians will come and put things in order. Consequently, the French will leave their sphere of neo-colonial control for a long time. This will be the second consecutive loss after the Central African Republic.
Of course, this looks like a victory – not of the Russian state, but of Russian weapons. The next question, however, is also logical: will the Russians cope? It’s still not about the army, but about a private company …
We will give the answer to this question in the following text – what is “PMC Wagner”.