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Emmanuel Macron reviews G5 Sahel counter-terror operations in Chad visit

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Emmanuel Macron reviews G5 Sahel counter-terror operations in Chad visit

Photo: Reuters/Christophe Petit Tesson

French President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Chad today to visit French troops stationed there as part of the G5 Sahel counter-terrorist force under Operation Barkhane.

Chad represents a major part of France’s security interests in the North African region. Chad’s capital N’Djamena is the headquarters of the regional counter-terrorism force fighting returning ISIS fighters seeking to attack French and western targets in Africa and Europe. The North African force is supported by some 4,500 French troops.

France—as the region’s former colonial power—has major economic, safety and migration interests to secure. A position that holds, despite President Idriss Deby’s authoritarianism.

However, chronic underfunding of the French-led, EU-funded, UN mission has aided an increasing Russian prominence in the region—including Moscow’s supplying four helicopters to the Barkhane mission in Chad.

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Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Expect increased commitments to Chad to fight local Jihadist terrorist group, Boko Haram, including an extra $56.7 million in funding for the force in 2019, as well as development loans of $46 million, aimed at stabilizing Deby’s regime. However, future EU budgetary constraints will challenge French influence. For Deby, regime survival is paramount. Despite close relations with France—which saved Deby from rebels in 2008—if budgets dry up, expect a pivot to Russia.

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