Ever since the demise of Operation Barkhane was announced, French diplomats and military brass have been pondering their country's next steps in the region. A strategy paper is being prepared for Emmanuel Macron.
In its efforts to gain sway in the Sahel, Russia is increasingly forging links with Burkina Faso's political and civil society circles. In so doing, it enjoys the unprecedented support of Wahhabist organisations. So far, the government has turned down Wagner's advances.
The first discreet nightly rotations took place from 1 to 7 May at Kandi airport, in northern Benin, which is currently used as a platform for French jumbo jets coming from Mali and heading for Niger, the final destination of the French equipment.
The withdrawal of French Barkhane troops from Mali and the dismantling of its military hospital in Gao means that MINUSMA will have to reorganise medical logistics for its peacekeepers.
In parallel with the withdrawal from Mali, the French army will strengthen the role the Eléments Français au Sénégal's 400 soldiers, whose current boss, General Michel Delpit, will leave his post in the middle of this year.