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Peace News
Posted by Joan Russow
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 15:21


By T.J. Petrowski, Winnipeg http://www.peoplesvoice.ca/Pv01ja13.html#LUSEUJanuary 1-31, 2013 Volume 21 – Number 1 pEOPLE'S vOICE

A consequence of the western imperialist powers' intervention in Libya in 2011, under the guise of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine (R2P), which cost the lives of thousands of civilians, was the destabilization of the west African state of Mali.

     The US and EU, especially France, the former colonial power, are seeking to militarily intervene in the ongoing conflict. On Dec. 20, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2085, authorizing deployment of an African‑led International Support Mission (AFISMA) in northern Mali. The Harper government is hinting that Canada may take part in such an intervention.

     The Republic of Mali, like much of Africa, has a long history of European colonialism and western-backed military coups, which have left the people in extreme poverty and despair.

     Following the defeat of Gaddafi, thousands of his Tuareg fighters returned to northern Mali heavily armed and with a deep sense of frustration over their living conditions.

     An estimated 1.2 million Tuareg people inhabit the Saharan interior of Africa, living as nomadic pastoralists in Mali, Algeria, Niger, Libya, and Burkina Faso. Since the European powers first colonized the region, causing wide‑scale displacement and suffering, the Tuareg have struggled for better living conditions and the right to self‑determination. They have continued this struggle against the Western‑backed leaders of their now independent nations.

     In January 2012, with the experience and resources acquired in Libya, they began the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an armed insurgency against the Malian government. (Azawad is the territory in northern Mali consisting of the federal regions of Gao, Kidal, Tombouctou, and Mopti.) With them was an influx of radical Islamists who cooperated with NATO to oust Gaddafi, many of them from Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, and other Muslim nations.

     On March 21, 2012, US‑trained Captain Amadou Sanogo, who maintains close ties with US intelligence, ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré. The circumstances leading to the coup d'etat included social discontent by the mass of peasants and students. Mali was experiencing a food crisis, a consequence of the sellout of arable land to foreign capitalists. After the coup, emergency law was enforced, with the constitution suspended and a curfew imposed on the people.

     Soon after the interim government of Dioncounda Traoré was installed, the MNLA unilaterally declared their secession from Mali as the state of Azawad. Although its members are predominately Tuareg, MNLA leaders have said their movement represents all Saharan peoples, seeking independent, secular representation for those neglected by the federal government in Bamako.

     Now the US and EU are using the "war on terror" ruse to justify a military intervention in support of the interim government. The official pretext is the seizure of Azawad by the Islamist organizations Al‑Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Ansar Dine. The Islamists taking control of northern Mali from the MNLA ‑ an area the size of France ‑ can be directly linked back to the imperialist intervention in Libya. Under Gaddafi, Libya invested heavily in sub‑Saharan nations, which made him incredibly popular throughout the continent. He also mediated the conflict between the Tuaregs and the Malian government, and opposed radical Islamist groups such as AQIM. With Gaddafi gone, Islamists from the Middle East are converging to fight for their vision of Sharia law in all of Mali, not strictly Azawad.

     Of course, the real aim of imperialism is to further exploit the extensive natural resources in Mali, including gold, uranium, cotton, and suspected oil reserves. France's nuclear industry is especially dependent on uranium from West Africa, and the French ruling class wishes to recolonize its former colonies, having recently intervened in the Ivory Coast. The US, France, Germany, other European states, and China are all competing for these resources, in yet another "Scramble for Africa."

     Direct investment from China in particular has increased 300‑fold in Mali over the last decade. Along with South Africa, Zambia, and Egypt, Mali has some of China's largest direct investments in Africa. The US seeks to reduce China's influence in the region, to reestablish its hegemony, just as the intervention in Libya was in part to deny China access to North African oil.      Oblivious to the mass starvation and malnourishment that plagues Malian civilians, a foreign intervention would undoubtedly result in a new quagmire for the imperialists, similar to the situation in Afghanistan, and could further destabilize the region. The people of Mali have the right to determine their own socio‑political structure without foreign intervention.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 16:09

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