Breaking africa’s strategic dependence

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Operation Bouledogue, launched on 18 July 1961 at Bizerte (Tunisia) to maintain a military base there, was the first of a long series of French military interventions in Africa. After Licorne in 2002 in Côte d’Ivoire and Serval in January 2013 in Mali, the most recent is named after an apparently harmless African butterfly, Sangaris. It is the seventh military intervention organised by Paris in the Central African Republic (CAR)•1 since the former African colony became independent in 1960. In total, in a period spanning over fifty years, France has deployed troops more than forty times on the continent•2. This is a reflection of the complicated, sometimes paradoxical and inevitably controversial relationships between France and its ex-colonies and a fabric woven by the particular history shared by France and each of  the states concerned, but also the history of France with this group of states, not to mention the major impact of the Cold  War.

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