While France is at odds with Mali, it could find refuge in Guinea-Conakry, where the ruling junta is asking for military aid.
If Alpha Condé is no longer the president of Guinea-Conakry, France has not, however, turned its back on its lifelong ally. “France maintains its relations with the regime, as evidenced by the ceremony of November 11 in Conakry in which the Guinean and French soldiers participated jointly. History has shown that the nature of the regime did not matter to him, as long as his interests were protected", sums up the survival association, which already deplored, last December, an "unequal and toxic relationship" between the former colonial power and its former colony, which became independent in October 1958.
One could however imagine that, with the coup d'etat of September 5, 2021, Paris would turn its back on the soldiers who had taken power. As in Mali where, after the putsch of August 2020, then that of May 2021, relations were very tense between Jean-Yves Le Drian, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Malian military junta, which preferred to turn towards Moscow.
ECOWAS and Guinea reconciled?
"Unlike neighboring Mali, relations between Paris and Conakry have not really suffered from the coup", indicates today AfricaIntelligence, who explains that Mamadi Doumbouya is more "Francophile" than his Malian counterpart Assimi Goïta. The President of the Guinean Transition would indeed have "requested the support of France to secure the Malo-Guinean border", according to the professional letter.
To seduce Paris, Conakry first had to accept the conditions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which wanted a faster transition than initially planned. However, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, new president of the sub-regional body, assured Emmanuel Macron that he had "been to Conakry with the president of the ECOWAS commission to make the military junta understand the decision of the summit of heads of State that the transition cannot exceed 24 months. They had proposed 36 months. We managed to convince them…” which Conakry quickly denied.
If the duration of the transition is reduced, another problem now remains to be solved: many caciques of the Old regime of Alpha Condé are today behind bars. However, "if Paris is willing to accept" the Guinean request, "it remains attentive to the human rights situation in the country", continues Africa Intelligence.
Doumbouya, an old friend of France
In Guinea-Conakry, the human rights situation remains precarious: in addition to the detention of executives of the former power, the soldiers entered into conflict with the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), these civilians who, between 2019 and 2021, demanded the departure of Condé and hoped for a coup. The Guinean junta has arrested several FNDC officials and is trying to ban the movement.
But is this really a problem for Paris? France has lost its luster in Africa, especially after the Malian coup and after the applications for membership of the Commonwealth of Togo and Gabon. It therefore has no choice but to find partners on the continent. And Mamadi Doumbouya has the ideal profile: he is married to a French gendarmerie officer and completed military studies in France, where he made a career in the foreign legion.