France's elite seems to want to continue the war to the last African, but there is now increased criticism of the government's course, many French people now find the cost in (French) lives and taxes too high
Burkina Faso's head of government Christophe Dabiré recently ventured into new territory: "We have to start talks with those responsible for terrorism, otherwise we will never find peace here."
The regional Al-Qaeda branch "Jama'at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimin" (JNIM) is said to have signalled willingness to negotiate if France withdraws its troops first.
The governments of the Sahel states know that they have to take a different path if they do not want to stand idly by and watch the loss of ever larger parts of their countries: They must start talks with the extremists.
Trump, for all his criticism, must be credited with wanting to end the endless war in Afghanistan through negotiations for pragmatic reasons. It is also worth remembering international law: the UN Charter prohibits war and calls for all conflicts to be resolved only by peaceful means.
The French government, however, at its recent meeting with representatives of the Sahel states, pushed through exactly the opposite: they do not want to withdraw their troops and do not want to negotiate with the "terrorists", but to "decapitate" them. France's current government seems to want to fight on to the last African. Although independent institutes state: The plan to force the extremists to surrender with targeted strikes has failed.
Although the stability of the states in the region has radically decreased instead of increasing since France's military intervention.
Although resentment against the presence of French troops in the Sahel is growing and demonstrators in Mali are loudly demanding their withdrawal.
Although well over 4,000 people died last year in the three Sahel states of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger - more than ever before in the region, which has been rocked by extremists for six years.
Although more civilians are now being killed by the French-led coalition than by the jihadists.
(It is helpful here to remember the phrase of actor and peace activist Ustinov, who declared that it makes no difference to people whether they lose their lives or loved ones to wars waged by states, or to terrorist attacks:
Although state services in Burkina Faso and Mali have collapsed in whole swathes of the country, these areas are inaccessible to police or civil servants and the population there is completely on its own.
Although the military presence in the Sahel costs the French almost a billion euros a year.
Although the 57th French soldier has just been killed in the area of operations there.
Although by now more than half of the French the military mission is too expensive in every respect.
Macron and his government members don't have to kill or die like his soldiers and even more the people in the Sahel. They can easily escalate violence if others bear the cost.
It is true that there is now also discussion in France that political engagement should be focused on political and social rather than military objectives. But this is still tentative and will cost many more lives before this opinion perhaps becomes the new principle of politics.
What can we as common people who want peace, in Africa and Germany and Europe, contribute to the fact that more and more people are losing their lives in the Sahel?
This is what we want to discuss in the Peace Team and Peace Forum for Africa; you can get involved.
We think it is necessary to draw up a list of the reasons underlying the growing violence and destabilisation.
We consider it necessary to draw up a list of measures that can lead to the overcoming of the post-colonial state in the direction of democratic and social constitutional states in Sahel.
We consider it necessary to draw up a list of measures that will lead to the ending of neo-colonial relations between European and Western states and the states of West Africa, i.e. to the establishment of equal relations oriented towards the promotion of human rights.
2.) Renegotiation of trade agreements (EPAS) that prohibit African states from protecting their producers from more competitive products from industrialised countries, thus making it impossible or at least difficult to create jobs in new businesses. UN reconstruction fund for the
3.) Take up the idea of the North-South Commission: Establish a commodity institute at the UN that can provide a counterweight to the commodity-rich countries vis-à-vis the international commodity corporations and banks and that can also take into account the concerns of African states and the communities and regions affected by commodity extraction. Exposure of all extractive contracts in Africa.
4.) Stop overfishing of West African waters by foreign companies, protect local fishermen.
5.) Decisive action in industrialised countries to stop climate change. Compensation for countries that bear little or no responsibility for climate change by the states, companies and populations that have caused and continue to cause it. Support for adaptation to climate change.
6.) Measures against tax evasion from African states by international corporations and African elites. Lift banking secrecy to end the pilfering of public funds and their securing in international banks by African elites.
7.) Stop cooperation with states that engage in radical Islamist propaganda, driving young people into violence and perhaps supplying them with weapons. Promote religious dialogue, tolerance and discussion on a common global ethic.
8.) Taking up the idea of former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali: building up a UN police force trained to work for the implementation of the UN Charter and Declaration of Human Rights, whose forces no longer act for national interests or whose action is prevented by national interests.
9.) Promote discussion in states on national and pan-African unity for people-powered state-building, which was once imposed on Africa by colonial powers and even after independence is often instrumentalised for their interests through collaboration with a small - often self-selected - elite.
We propose to discuss:
Do these demands make sense? Are they the most important or are there more important ones? Who is already advocating them (or some of them) - NGOs, scientists, politicians? How can they be enforced? How can the problems be explained well and the demands? Is there already material? Who wants to help compile it? In order to achieve something, many volunteers are needed, the problems are manifold and also differ from country to country. And networking also takes time. Often, concessions only remain on paper and it is necessary to check whether they are actually implemented.
Join the team if you want to help promote this discussion: Black and White Foren | Black&White (initiative-blackandwhite.org) Black&White Teams | Initiative Black and White (initiative-blackandwhite.org)