Originally published 02/13/2013
...And, much as President François Hollande of France denies that his country is still the gendarme of francophone Africa, the columns of French soldiers and planeloads of paratroops embroiled in the newest fighting recall much earlier campaigns.“There was a time when General Faidherbe pursued armed bands attacking the forts of the Sahel, and even then they professed radical Islam,” Bertrand Badie, a political science scholar in Paris, wrote in Le Monde, referring to Gen. Louis Faidherbe, who played a central role in solidifying French interests in the broad swath of desert known as the Sahel in the 19th century. “What have we done since then?”
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