Mali vs. Ecowas: Bamako Can Count on International Support

Mikhail Gamandiy-Egorov
In the current tug of war between Mali and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Malian authorities are unlikely to relent, as they can count on a number of African and international supporters. But also on domestic popular support and broad sympathies from pan-African civil society.

Many observers have noted that the sanctions imposed by Ecowas on the Malian authorities are only the logical consequence of the pressure and intimidation exerted by Paris on Bamako following Mali’s strategic rapprochement with Russia. At the same time, the domino effect of the fall of influence of the neo-colonial Franco-African system continues.

Many Africans even speak of a simple proxy work of this same Ecowas in favor of the interests of the Elysée. One thing is certain: for months now, Paris has been using its main auxiliaries in the region to increase the pressure on Mali in its strategic choices, even if in doing so the regimes concerned go against the resentments of a large part of their own citizens, as was observed in Niger, where demonstrations against the French military presence took place, with civilian victims among the protesters.

This thesis is further confirmed by the fact that almost immediately after ECOWAS announced the imposition of sanctions on Mali, French diplomacy tried to have the UN adopt a text supporting these sanctions. In vain – Russia and China as permanent members of the UN Security Council blocked the said text, confirming once again their mutual solidarity at the international level and not allowing the Elysee maneuvers at the UN to achieve their desired objective.

Despite this obvious failure, the French and more generally Western media are trying to maintain, along with the political establishment concerned, the idea that Mali is supposedly isolated in the international community, although this now appears to be a ridiculous posture. In addition to having the support of Moscow and Beijing, two of the world’s three main powers, Bamako can also count on the support, more or less, of several African countries, particularly in the region.

Among these countries is Algeria, which maintains cordial relations with the Malian authorities. Guinea, also a neighbor of Mali, has shown solidarity with Bamako and has announced that “land, air and sea borders will remain open to Mali”, following the sanctions announced by ECOWAS. It would certainly be fair to mention Mauritania – also on good terms with Bamako. And let’s not forget Morocco, which, although it has close relations with Paris and Washington, has a strong economic presence on Malian soil – Mali being the third largest destination for the kingdom’s investments in Africa, as Maroc Diplomatique reminds us.

More generally, all the countries concerned, in addition to their respective interests, would only benefit if the security situation in the Sahel were to improve. Hence the importance of supporting the efforts of the Malian authorities.

But beyond regional and international support, the key point is that the Malian authorities can continue to count on mass popular support – from a large part of the Malian population, as well as from many citizens of other African countries. Including those whose heads of state remain in a subcontracting mode for the interests of Paris. And this, even the main pro-Western voices are now forced to recognize.

Jeune Afrique – one of the main media torchbearers of Franco-African interests – even speaks of an “exacerbated anti-French sentiment” after the ECOWAS sanctions, confirming a reality that we have already dealt with on several occasions.

In terms of perspectives, it should be said that the domino effect of the failures of the Elysian and Western establishment will most certainly continue beyond Mali. The arrogance and total inability to adapt intelligently to the international rules of the multipolar era will only exacerbate the hostile feelings of many people, especially Africans, towards the Western establishment.

One thing is also certain: the courage of the authorities and the people of Mali is undeniable. Patriotic and sovereignist determination is overcoming neo-colonial arrogance, becoming an additional source of inspiration for other nations. As for Russia and China, they will have demonstrated once again that beyond their firm solidarity in world affairs, the notion of international community is anything but the one promoted and repeated all day long by the political-media establishment of the West.

Translation by Internationalist 360°