Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday predicted the “certain” failure of the perpetrators of the coup in Niger, believing that it was the “long-term” maintenance of French military forces in the Sahel that provoked anti-French.
“The problem is deep and in reality insoluble because it is that of the prolonged presence of our army in our former colonies”, explains the former head of state, in a river interview with Le Figaro on the occasion of the release of his new book “Le Temps des combats” (Fayard).
“As good and generous as our intentions, any mission that drags on ends up making us appear (…) as an occupying force”, he adds, convinced that “the Africans themselves” will understand ” the impasse into which these so-called leaders resulting from military coups are leading them”.
“Their failure is certain,” he warns, of the perpetrators of the July 26 coup that led to the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum. The latter is still being held prisoner in this country where France had 1,500 soldiers actively participating with the Nigerien army in the fight against jihadist groups.
Criticizing his successor at the Élysée, François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy sees in “maintaining our army in Mali” after the military intervention decided in 2013, “a double error” . Military “because we cannot hold a territory three times the size of France with 4,000 men” and political “as we see today”.
He also criticizes the socialist president who “dropped the Libyan file”, after the intervention of France – within an international coalition – while the regime of Muammar Gaddafi violently repressed the uprising of its population in the spring of 2011.
He also cites former US President Barack Obama, who “self-acknowledged that it was his greatest foreign policy fault” to have “abandoned Libya’s fledgling democracy in 2012 when it needed more than ever we support her. “
Nicolas Sarkozy finally recalls not having ordered the elimination of the Libyan dictator. “This unworthy controversy has given way to the facts”, he observes, referring to “coordinated collective action, led by NATO”.
“Much later, the Gaddafi clan took revenge by claiming to have financed my campaign” in 2007, he adds about one of the legal cases involving the former head of state.