On 24/1/2022, the army in Burkina Faso announced its seizure of power after it overthrew President Roch Kabore, suspended the constitution, dissolved the government and parliament, and closed the borders. Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henry Sandaogo Damiba signed the statement declaring the coup and another officer read it on state television in the name of the “National Movement for Protection and Reform”. The statement promised that the country would “return to constitutional order within a reasonable period of time,” but did not specify how long. This analysis posits that the coup forms a part of the struggle by America to uproot the European hold over Africa in general and in the case of Burkina Faso, that of France.
Burkina Faso, whose former name was Upper Volta, is Muslim majority country, as more than 60% of its people are Muslims. It is the fourth country in Africa in the production of gold and contains many other minerals such as copper, zinc and others. The French had occupied Burkina Faso and imposed their colonization on it since 1896. They annexed it to the so-called French Federation. They had to give it formal independence in 1960, so France established a regime and an army affiliated with it, it has a military base belonging to special forces that it uses to maintain its influence in the region. And France made it a member of the Group of Five African Sahel (G5 Sahel) countries to maintain its influence in West and Central Africa.
It linked its economy to it through the so-called African franc, which is measured against the euro, the money of the countries linked to this currency was transferred to the French Central Bank, so France invested these funds as it wanted to support its economy. These are colonial methods to maintain the colonizers’ control over the country and to loot its wealth. Nevertheless, America worked to access it by provoking the ideas of liberation from colonialism and the ideas of the left, and by providing the so-called aid and loans from the International Monetary Fund and its unjust conditions, civil society organizations, and contacting politicians and military personnel. Recently, it began using the pretext of fighting terrorism to extend its influence there, as it began using military bases in the country against armed Islamic groups.
America has shown interest in this country and its neighbouring countries, so it appointed a special envoy for the Sahel region since 2020, under the pretext of confronting acts of violence and attacks by armed Islamist groups. The US State Department announced that the situation in the Sahel countries, especially in the tri-border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, had begun to deteriorate and required the appointment of a special envoy for the region. France had intervened again in the region since 2013 after the coup that took place in Mali in 2012 against its influence under the pretext of fighting Islamist armed groups in northern Mali. Protests occurred at the end of last year against the French presence in the country and its intervention in West Africa, demanding the return of the French army to its country. That is, there is a movement against the French presence in Burkina Faso. All of this confirms the existence of an American-French conflict in Burkina Faso, as is the case in West and Central Africa.
Thus, the conflict between America and France in West and Central Africa continues. In a press conference with Macron about this conflict, he referred to it in another way, saying: [“the relationship … has become … a bit tired” and “re-forging an economic and financial New Deal with Africa” and said: “[Europe] to set out an agenda in terms of health education and climate which is equal to the challenges in Africa” (https://presidence-francaise.consilium. AFP 9/12/2021). He confirmed this statement again when he delivered a speech before European Parliament deputies in Strasbourg on 19/1/2022, the day his country assumed the presidency of the European Union for six months: “in which he called for a new alliance with the African continent and called for a summit between the two continents next February.” (France 24, 19/1/2022)]. He referred to the investments there, i.e. the domination of European companies, especially the French, over the country’s wealth and looting it. He referred to the investment in health, i.e. the exploitation of the issue of diseases to dispose of medicines, and he referred to the issue of security in order to maintain French influence there.
Security sources had reported that President Kabore has been detained since Sunday 23/1/2022 in a military barracks after military units rebelled against his authority, demanding the dismissal of senior army officials, the chief of staff and the intelligence chief. They accused them of failing to fight the jihadists and demanded that additional resources be allocated to confront these groups. They demanded the departure of the president and the release of General Gilbert Diender from prison, who was convicted by the authorities in 2015 of carrying out a failed coup attempt and imprisoned him.
The army said, “Kaboré has failed to unite the nation and deal effectively with the security crisis that threatens the foundations of our nation” (BBC 25/1/2022)]. Coup leader, Paul Henry Sandaogo Damiba, a senior infantry officer in the Burkina Faso army, graduated from the Military School in Paris and earned a Master’s degree in Criminal Sciences at the CNAM Institute. This upbringing and in a country dominated by France and its army in general and its flimsy justifications for the coup, with the emergence of evidence that France was not disturbed by the coup, but rather the emergence of evidence of its approval of it… All of this confirms that he carried out this coup with the support of France.
French President Macron said after the coup, “The President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kabore was elected twice by his people in a democratic election. I was told that he is not in danger of physical harm…” (AFP 25/1/2022). There is cunningness in this statement that indicates that he supports the coup, is not sorry for him, and is not concerned about his fall and the coup against him. But he said, “He is not being threatened of being subjected to bodily harm!” It is as if he wanted to say in a popular tone, “It is good that he was saved otherwise he would have been killed!” The issue of France killing of its opponents in Burkina Faso and installing its agents in their place is well known. The former president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara was killed in 1987, who appeared as a Marxist revolutionary to cover his work for America.
He was killed by France’s agent Blaise Compaore, who took power after his death in a military coup concocted by France that year, and continued to rule until 2014, when the pro-American army officers’ coup took place. A year later they allowed elections to take place, which Roc Kabore won in 2015. Macron did not demand his release and return to power, just as the revolutionaries in Mali demanded the release of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the respect for the constitution, and return to power in 2020. Because in Mali at that time the president was an agent of France, so it demanded his release, but here Macron did not demand the release of Kabore. This indicates that he is not loyal to France. Macron did not issue a condemnation in the name of France, but said, “We “clearly, as always” in agreement with the Economic Community of West African States “in condemning this military coup”. That is, the condemnation came to mislead and in keeping with the countries of this group.
As for the American position, a spokesperson for the US State Department stated:
“The United States calls on the Burkina Faso’s armed forces to immediately release President Kabore, to respect Burkina Faso’s constitution and civilian leadership. Washington encourages the restoration of safety and security and dialogue to meet their demands…” (AFP 24/1/2022). This indicates that America is not satisfied with the coup and demands the release of President Kabore and respect for him as the country’s civilian leader and respect for the constitution by returning him to power for being an elected president. This is different from its position on the 2014 coup, when then the US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “The United States is not ready to describe whether the military seizure of power in Burkina Faso amounts to a coup or not, a step if taken may require cessation of American aid to the country” (Reuters 3/11/2014).
It supported the 2014 coup when it did not describe it as a coup, but in the last coup it called on the military to immediately release the president and respect the constitution, which does not allow coups to take place and affirms the president’s legitimacy. AFRICOM Spokeswoman Kelly Cahalan said in an email after the coup on 25/1/2022: “Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba [received] modules on the law of armed conflict, subjugation to civilian control, and respect for human rights. Military seizures of power are inconsistent with U.S. military training and education.” Whereas the US Command AFRICOM indicated that Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba participated in many US military courses and exercises between 2010 and 2020. As if he was not linked to America and remained loyal to France, and that is why America opposed his carrying out of this coup.
Russia has taken an interest in what happened in Burkina Faso. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “Moscow is concerned about the serious deterioration of the internal political situation in this Russian-friendly African country, and it is closely following developments in the situation and counting on its return to normal as soon as possible” (Russian Foreign Ministry website 24/1/2022). This Russian interest draws attention to the fact that there is a reason for Russia to intervene in a Western sphere of influence. As it appeared that America uses Russia in Africa as it uses it in the Middle East to maintain its influence, as it did in Syria, where it gave the green light for its intervention in Syria in 2015 to protect the regime of its agent Bashar Assad. It also used it to extend its influence as it did in Libya, where it asked its client Haftar to connect with Russia and derives support from it against Europe.
It has recently instructed its agents in Mali to ask it for support to face the French influence, so Russia sent the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries. The Chargé d’Affairs of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Andrew Leibowitz, indicated that: “The difficulties that Europe and France in particular faced in containing jihadist groups in the Sahel region provided Russia with an opportunity to expand its security cooperation, especially in Mali” (Khabar25.com 26/1/2022). However, the Russian influence is far from being consolidated in Burkina Faso. There is no Russian conflict with France in Burkina Faso. A senior French military official, who did not want to be named, said: “The fact that Lieutenant Colonel Damiba was trained in Paris and not in Moscow, it means that France should be able to find a way to continue its decades-old cooperation with the army of Burkina Faso, and discuss national security issues. (But) we must be active to avoid any vacuum that the Russians might exploit” (Khabar25.com 26/1/2022).
But the actual conflict is between America and France in Burkina Faso and in West and Central Africa. As we mentioned above, coups and countercoups are circulating between America and France in Burkina Faso, and not only that, but the conflict is broader than that, as it rages throughout Africa between America and the old colonialists, Britain and France, who are clinging to their old colonies and want to remain and maintain this colonization in various forms. If the colonial countries do not occupy the country directly, they work to find influence through agents in various political, military, economic, cultural, media and other vital and influential fields in the country. These are among the most dangerous things for the country. They are more dangerous than the occupier’s armies because the occupier will not get established except through them, hides behind them, achieves its interests through them and protects itself from being fought by shielding behind them.
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