By Riches Soberekon
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his belief that the coup in Niger would ultimately fail, attributing it to the prolonged presence of French military forces in the Sahel region.
In an interview with Le Figaro, Sarkozy stated that despite good intentions, extended military missions can create the perception of an occupying force. He expressed his conviction that African nations themselves would recognize the deadlock created by leaders arising from military coups.
Sarkozy issued a warning, stating that the perpetrators of the July 26 coup would inevitably face failure. This coup resulted in the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum, who remains in captivity. France had been actively supporting Niger with 1,500 soldiers in the fight against jihadist groups.
Critiquing his successor,François Hollande, Sarkozy deemed the decision to maintain French troops in Mali after the 2013 military intervention as a double mistake. He argued that it was impractical to hold a territory three times the size of France with only 4,000 soldiers, and that it had political consequences.
Sarkozy also criticized Hollande for mishandling the Libyan crisis. Following France’s intervention in 2011, along with an international coalition, he felt that Hollande had subsequently neglected the Libyan file.
Sarkozy mentioned former US President Barack Obama, who publicly acknowledged that abandoning Libya was his greatest foreign policy mistake.