Africa, Analysis, Side Feature

Q&A: Burkina Faso and the Coups that have Recently Escalated

Question: published on its website on 4/2/2023 that the leader of the military council in Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Traore, confirmed “that his country will not cut off its diplomatic relations with France,” so how do we understand this in line with what was stated by the spokesman for the transitional government in Burkina Faso on 21/1/2023: (The government of Burkina Faso decided to end the military agreement with France, which allows its forces to be present on the territory of Ouagadougou, desiring that its forces assume self-defense, and requested the departure of the French forces within a month)? Also, why did the transitional government in Burkina Faso take this decision? Note that the transitional government was announced after a coup over a coup. Who was behind this coup? And what does all this have to do with the international conflict? Is Burkina Faso an Islamic country and what is the percentage of Muslims in it?

We will review the reality of Burkina Faso and the coups that have recently accelerated there, and I will start with the fact that it is an Islamic country:

1- Burkina Faso is a country in West Africa, and it is an Islamic country. According to the 2006 census, more than 60.5% of its population are Muslims, and about 23% are Christians, afterwards follows other traditions. It was within Islamic kingdoms that were formed after the fragmentation of the Kingdom of Mali, until it was finally subjected to French colonialism during the days of its advancement in Africa according to a treaty in the year of 1314 AH / 1896 CE, and it was annexed to the colony of Upper Senegal, then it became a separate colony in the year 1335 AH / 1916 CE, and was known as Upper Volta. And when the Muslims in Upper Volta made attempts to gain their independence (they broke up) their land and it was divided to the Ivory Coast, Mali and Niger. In the year 1385 AH / 1947 CE, Upper Volta regained the unity of its land in one colony, then it gained its independence in the year 1380 AH/ 1960 CE. On 4/8/1984, President Thomas Sankara changed the name of the country to “Burkina Faso”, which means “the country of honest (pure) people”, from the two main languages in the country: Mori (Burkina, meaning honest or pure people) and Diola (Faso, meaning father’s house or country).

Its area is 274,200 km2, and its population is 21,510,181 people. It depends on agriculture for its economy. Ouagadougou is the most important city in the country and it is the capital.

2- At the beginning of last year, a coup took place which France was behind, and we issued an Answer to a Question on 30/1/2022 about the coup that took place in Burkina Faso on 24/1/2022, and we have made it clear that that coup and its president, Damiba, was backed by France. So we said (“This upbringing and in a country dominated by France and its army in general and its flimsy justifications for the coup, with the emergence of evidence that France was not disturbed by the coup, but rather the emergence of evidence of its approval of it… All of this confirms that he carried out this coup with the support of France… and that is why America opposed his carrying out of this coup.”)

People there later realized that France, the old and continuous colonialist, was behind it.

3- After about nine months, a coup against a coup took place! A coup was announced on the evening of Friday, 30/9/2022 in Burkina Faso, which included the overthrow of the head of the Military Council, former coup leader Paul Henri Damiba, and the appointment of the new coup leader, Ibrahim Traore. There were protests and attacks on France’s institutions there, including the embassy, consulate, schools and centers, in protest against them when news spread that Damiba had fled to a French military base. The leader of the new coup, Ibrahim Traore, who is the head of the anti-militant unit in the northern Kaya region of the country, announced in a statement read by one of his soldiers on the country’s state television: “A group of officers who helped Damiba seize power in (last) January decided to remove their leader because of his impotence on confronting the militants’ rebellion,” this is the same pretext used by those who conducted the coup months ago to overthrow former President Roch Kabore. He said in the statement:

Traore stated that the constitution has been suspended and the transitional charter has been dissolved, that borders have been closed indefinitely, and that all political and civil society activities have been halted. He imposed a curfew from 2100 to 0500 GMT. According to the statement, Damiba rejected officer proposals to reorganize the army and instead maintained the military structure that led to the previous regime’s demise. “Damiba’s actions gradually convinced us that his ambitions were diverting our attention away from the task at hand. We decided to get rid of Damiba today.” According to the statement, national stakeholders will be invited soon to adopt a new transitional charter and name a new civilian or military president. (, Al-Ghad 2/10/2022). This indicates that the soldiers who carried out the coup are not satisfied with the political orientations of the former coup leader, Paul Henry Damiba, and that they have another political orientation, and this means that the former coup leader, Damiba, follows a policy different from that of the new coup leader.

4- This confirms that when the last coup took place, attacks took place on French institutions, as the leader of the last coup, Ibrahim Traore, indicated that Damiba had taken refuge in a French military base. After this statement came the attacks on the French institutions and some of them were set on fire. France has shown its strong resentment of these attacks. The news said that angry protesters set fire on the evening of Saturday 1/10/2022 on the buildings of the French embassy and consulate in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, after news circulated that Damiba had taken refuge in a French military base, noting that the French embassy in Ouagadougou denied this … and people around the embassy were chanting against France in support of the new coup leader. Pictures of fires raging in French buildings have spread on social media sites. “We condemn in the strongest terms the targeting of our embassy in Ouagadougou. The safety of our nationals is a priority that cannot be tampered with,” said French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre.” (France 24, 1/10/2022) Where an important French military base is stationed in the capital, Ouagadougou, and there are hundreds of French soldiers, most of them from French special forces under the pretext of combating terrorism in the African Sahel region. This coup targeted the French presence in the country, and everything that happened indicates that the coup took place against France.

5- In addition, the European Union has shown its opposition to the coup, citing preserving the agreement related to the handover of power. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs official, said: “The European Union also regrets the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the country” (France 24, 1/10/2022). He referred to the attacks that targeted French institutions in Burkina Faso. The European Union official declares his opposition to the coup in the name of France, because the European Union cares about France’s interests in Africa. France’s influence there is part of the European Union’s influence and enhances its economic and political power.

6- As for the American position, it appears that it is not against the coup, rather it is implicitly with the coup and did not describe it as a coup. The United States “called for the return of calm and restraint by the concerned parties.” (France 24, 10/1/2022). This statement indicates that it does not oppose the coup, and the French Agency’s brief mention of the American position indicates the French’s resentment of the American position and their realization that America is behind this coup, especially since the former head of the military council in Burkina Faso is an agent of France, and America did not condemn the current coup against him, while it implicitly condemned his coup at the beginning of this year, as it showed its dissatisfaction with the coup and demanded that it respect the constitution and return its agent, former President Kabore. It is likely that this coup, led by Ibrahim Traore, is by America.

7- Therefore, the result was that the spokesman for the transitional government in Burkina Faso announced on 21/1/2023 via Burkinabe state television that “the government of Burkina Faso has decided to terminate the military agreement with France, which allows its forces to be present on the territory of Ouagadougou, desiring that its forces assume self-defense. It asked the French forces to leave within a month. The official Burkinabe radio RTB said: “France has one month to withdraw its forces from the country.” A few days before the decision was announced, demonstrators took to the streets in the capital, Ouagadougou, demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador and the closure of the French military base, and the transitional counsil president promised them that something would happen by arranging relations with one of the countries and did not name it, bearing in mind that since the coup of last September 30, protests have been repeated against the French presence and called for the expulsion of the French and the closure of their bases from the country.

8- Accordingly, a spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry said that she “received, on Tuesday 24/1/2023, a request from the ruling military council in Burkina Faso to withdraw its French forces from the country. It will abide by the required deadline, which is a month. France will respect the terms of the agreement by implementing this request.” (France 24, 25/1/2023). The French President claimed that there was great ambiguity and wanted clarifications. This is why several confirmations were issued from Burkina Faso and letters to France explaining this. The response to him came from the government of Burkina Faso, on behalf of the spokesperson, Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo, on 1/23/2023, saying: “We are ending the agreement, but it is not the end of the diplomatic relationship between Burkina Faso and France. The termination of the French military presence is natural and has been foreseen by the terms of the agreement, and we see no other way at present to make the request clearer.” (France Press, Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, 25/1/2023)

9- As for how to understand the announcement of the leader of the transitional government, Ibrahim Traore, that his country will not sever its diplomatic relations with France despite his warning to it to end the French military presence, this is because France’s influence extended for decades and France has agents inside Burkina Faso, and the current government focuses on removing the French military force and being satisfied with that without the political provocation of severing diplomatic relations. It is not inconceivable that France will realize this and delay the military withdrawal unless it is overcome with American material assistance to the current government.

10- Thus, the spiral of coups continues in Burkina Faso and in other Islamic countries, not to change the situation for the better and bring about a real coup against the colonizer, expelling him and removing him from his roots, and purifying the country from his clutches as it should be. However, the matter is not like that, but rather it is changing the faces of agents of a colonial country to another colonial country, it is the result of an international conflict. The real change is based on the thought of the Ummah and the building of an integrated state on its basis and a constitution emanating from its creed (Aqeedah) and its sources are the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw).

[وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَاناً لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ]

“And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.”[An-Nahl: 89].

And we ask Allah, Al-Qawi Al-Aziz (the Powerful, the Mighty), that the Muslim countries return to a single state, the Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided Caliphate), so that Islam and the Muslims will be glorified and the disbelief and the kufr will be humiliated, and Islam will spread throughout the parts of the earth with the honour of the honourable or the disgrace of the humiliated, and this will happen, Allah willing; Ahmad included in his Musnad… on the authority of Tamim Ad-Dari who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say:

«لَيبلُغَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرُ مَا بلَغَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنهَارُ وَلَا يَتْرُكُ اللَّهُ بيْتَ مَدَرٍ وَلَا وَبَرٍ إِلَّا أَدْخَلَهُ اللَّهُ هَذَا الدِّينَ بِعِزِّ عَزِيزٍ أَوْ بِذُلِّ ذَلِيلٍ عِزّاً يُعِزُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْإِسْلَامَ وَذُلّاً يُذِلُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْكُفْرَ»

“This matter will certainly reach every place touched by the night and day. Allah will not leave a mud-brick house or a camel’s hair tent but that Allah will cause this religion to enter it, by which the honorable will be honored and the disgraceful will be disgraced. Allah will honor the honorable with Islam and he will disgrace the disgraceful with unbelief.”

Al-Hakim narrated it in Al-Mustadrak with the wording… I heard Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad Al-Kindi, may Allah be pleased with him, saying: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say:

«لَا يَبْقَى عَلَى ظَهْرِ الْأَرْضِ مِنْ بَيْتِ مَدَرٍ وَلَا وَبَرٍ إِلَّا أَدْخَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ كَلِمَةَ الْإِسْلَامِ بِعِزِّ عَزِيزٍ، أَوْ بِذُلِّ ذَلِيلٍ، يُعِزَّهُمُ اللَّهُ فَيَجْعَلُهُمْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا، أَوْ يُذِلُّهُمْ فَلَا يَدِينُوا لَهَا»

“There will not remain on the face of the earth a mud-brick house or a camel’s hair tent which Allah will not cause the confession of Islam to enter bringing both mighty honour and abject abasement. Allah will either honour the occupants and put them among its adherents, or will humiliate them and they will be subject to it.”

Al-Hakim said: This Hadith is authentic according to the conditions of the two sheikhs, and they did not extract it.

16 Rajab 1444 AH – 7/2/2023 CE