The Facts

  • On Monday, Mali's parliament approved its ruling military regime to remain in power for the next 5 yrs, despite international concerns over elections being delayed since an Aug 2020 coup.

  • This comes as 8 Malian soldiers and 57 IS insurgents were reportedly killed in clashes on Friday, a day after France announced its withdrawal as part of a general drawdown in the Sahel.

The Spin

Narrative A

Is US training in West Africa preparing the next authoritarian coup leader? Burkina Faso and Mali both have new military regimes, whose leaders learned their craft well in Flintlock. With their American-acquired skills, these leaders have done more than fight IS: they've alienated France, tilted to Russia, and rolled back democracy in the region.

Narrative B

The West should step up in Africa, drive a wedge between Russian and Chinese influence, and work to better the lives of millions on the continent. Right now, Russia is sweeping in and capitalizing on waning French and American power. African states are frustrated by the West's bumbling counterterrorism policies, and Russia brings weapons, contractors and autocrat-friendly business dealings to the table.

Narrative C

ISIS-affiliated groups are preying on the entire continent. The nations of Sub-Saharan Africa must rise up together to fight instability, extremism, and poverty. Foreign powers are no help and only make matters worse.

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