France Launches War In Mali To Secure Resources, Stamp Out National Rights Struggles


line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>A French armoured convoy entered Mali several days ago from neighbouring Ivory Coast, another former French colony. French troops spearheaded the overthrow of that country’s government in 2011.

map here).

‘Islamist terrorists’ etc., etc.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>It is true that Islamic fundamentalists have ruled northern Mali with an iron hand since taking over in 2012. But the reasons for this latest intervention lie in the determination of the world’s imperial powers to keep the human and natural resources of poor regions of the world as preserves for capitalist profits. West Africa is a region of great resource wealth, including gold, oil and uranium.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>Notwithstanding the fabulous wealth created by uranium mining, Niger is one of the poorest countries on Earth. As one European researcher puts it, “Uranium mining in Niger sustains light in France and darkness in Niger.”

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>A key player in the unfolding war is Algeria. The government there is anxious to prove its loyalty to imperialism. Its lengthy border with northern Mali is a key zone for the “pacification” of northern Mali upon which France and its allies are embarked.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>Today, the Mali government is a shell of a regime that rules at the behest of the Mali military, the latter’s foreign trainers, and the foreign mining companies that provide much of its revenue.

Touareg people

the Touareg people, a semi-nomadic people numbering some 1.2 million. Their language is part of the Berber language group. Their historic homeland includes much of Niger and northern Mali and smaller parts of Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Libya. They call themselves Kel Tamasheq (speakers of the Tamasheq language).

succession of rebellions in the 20th century against the borders imposed by colonialism and then defended by post-independence, neocolonial regimes. They are one of many minority nationalities in west Africa fighting for national self-determination, including the Sahwari of Western Sahara, a region controlled by Morocco and whose Sahwari leadership, the Polisario Front, is widely recognised internationally.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>A second, larger rebellion began in 1990 and won some autonomy from the Mali government that was elected in 1992 and re-elected in 1997. A third rebellion in Mali and Niger in 2007 won further political and territorial concessions, but these were constantly reneged. A Libya-brokered peace deal ended fighting in 2009.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>The independence declaration proved premature and unsustainable. The MNLA was soon pushed aside by Islamist-inspired armed groups that oppose Touareg self-determination and an independent state. The army, meanwhile, continued to harass and kill people. A group of 17 visiting Muslim clerics, for example, were massacred on September 22, 2012.

unconfirmed reports, the MNLA has renounced the goal of an independent Azawad. It entered into talks with the Mali regime in December for autonomy in the northern region. A January 13, 2013, statement on the group’s website acquiesces to the French intervention but says it should not allow troops of the Mali army to pass beyond the border demarcation line declared in April of last year.

Militarisation of Mali and west Africa

Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership, comprising 11 “partner” African countries: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>Canadian troops have participated in military exercises in west Africa since at least 2008. In 2009, Mali was named one of six “countries of focus” in Africa for Canadian aid. Beginning that year, Canadian aid to Mali leaped to where it is now one of the largest country recipients of Canada aid funds.

launched a plan to establish at least six, new military bases abroad, including two in Africa. (It is not known exactly where the Africa part of the plan stands today.)

War atrocities

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>The International Red Cross is reporting scores of civilian and military casualties in the towns coming under French attack.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>He also warned of the plans to bring neighbouring armies into northern Mali. "These armies, who are already committing serious violations in their countries, are most likely to do the same, or at least not behave in accordance to international law if they are in Mali", he said.

UNHCR, the latest crisis has internally displaced nearly 230,000 Malians. An additional 144,500 Malians were already refugees in neighbouring countries.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>In an ominous sign of more civilian casualties to come, and echoing the excuses for atrocities by invading armies against civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine in recent years, French military commanders are complaining of the difficulty in distinguishing fighters they are bombing from non-combatant populations. France’s army chief Edouard Guillaud told Reuters that France's air strikes were being hampered because militants were using civilian populations as shields.

No to the war in Mali

including the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (New Anti-Capitalist Party) and the Gauche anticapitaliste (Anti-Capitalist Left). The latter is a tendency within the Front de gauche (Left Front). The Left Front captured 11 per cent of the first-round presidential vote last year.

and declared, “The positions of the deputies of the Left Front, Communists and republicans, is clear: To abandon the people of Mali to the barbarism of fanatics would be a moral mistake… International military action was necessary in order to avoid the installation of a terrorist state.”

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>A January 12 statement by the French Communist Party (PCF), a component of the Left Front, said, “The PCF shares the concern of Malians over the armed offensive of the Jihadist groups towards the south of their country… The party recalls here that the response to the request for assistance by the president of Mali should have been made in the framework of a United Nations and African Union sponsorship, under the flag of the UN…”

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>A January 15 statement by the Canadian Peace Alliance explains: “The real reason for NATO's involvement is to secure strategic, resource rich areas of Africa for the West. Canadian gold mining operations have significant holdings in Mali as do may other western nations…

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-bidi-font-weight:bold”>“Canada must not participate in this process of unending war.”













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