January 16, 2013

Mali: Labour, peace, African and French youth voices against the intervention

Launched just days ago, a brutal military intervention by the French "socialist" government of Francois Hollande is being carried out in Mali. The war includes areal bombing assault and, now, a ground assault by troops.

As People's Voice noted earlier in January:

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.  On Dec. 20, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2085, authorizing deployment of an African‑led International Support Mission (AFISMA) in northern Mali.... 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.

The main pretext for this imperialist war is the intensification of the strife and war between the Malian army and the militant organizations that claim to be fighting for the independence of Northern Mali in Azawad. In this context, Malian President Dioncounda Traore (who was appointed after a military coup last March) "asked" for action which resulted in a December 2012 UN Security Council resolution.

Mali is a landlocked West African country, well-known internationally for its music and cultural history, home of the famous historic trade city of Timbuktu. The country is also a former French colony (see this link here which shows a 1936 map of West Africa; read here about the pact France forced on its former colonies after 'independence').

The military "operation" focuses on the Muslim Tuareg people's homeland in the north of the Mali, in an area known as the Sahel. The Sahel is an the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas. It is home to vast natural resources with the world third largest uranium reserves as well as substantial oil reserves.

One of the main companies involved is the French energy corporation Areva, which is the second largest producer of uranium in the world.  Areva has been extracting for decades in neighbouring Nigeria, although they have lost their exclusive rights recently.

Uranium is a very important energy source for France. The World Nuclear Association says that over 75 percent of electricity is produced from nuclear energy in France, and the country is also the world's largest net exporter of nuclear-generated electricity with a revenue of more than 3 billion Euro a year.

The French force includes at least 2,500 French troops as well as Gazelle helicopter gunships, as well as six Mirage 2000D fighter jets based in Chad and four Rafale fighter jets from France in the bombing runs.

The war is taking place with the full support of the United States and NATO, as well as the European Union, the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) -- and the Harper Conservative government of Canada.

About 2340 troops are expected from neighbouring African countries; Britain is also sending two C-17 aircraft to carry troops and military equipment while Denmark and Belgium are also sending troop transport aircraft and helicopters respectively. The US is providing military intelligence.

The Harper Conservatives, who have no money or time for the Aboriginal peoples and Idle No More, immediately sent one C-17 cargo plane to Mali on Tuesday to offer logistical support to the French, airlifting supplies to Bamako. There is a summary of Canadian mining and other corporate investments in Mali here.

Below are some statements by labour, peace, and communist youth organizations of South Africa and France.

Geo-strategic goals, not humanitarianism

(The intervention) constitutes the continuation of the implementation of the imperialist plans for the geo-strategical control of broader areas of Africa, as we have seen it in 2011 with the bloody intervention and bombing of Libya. Their goal are the energy resources which are object of fierce rivalry between imperialist forces and centers, which however go hand in hand in the slaughter of the peoples under various pretexts each time. World Peace Council

Plunder and control of uranium mines

...After the genocide in Rwanda and the demolition of Libya, France continues to use the military bases it maintains in Africa in order to strengthen its role in the inter-imperialist competition and to serve the interests of its monopoly groups who are plundering the wealth-producing resources (gold, uranium etc.).  (...)  aiming for the protection of the French interests in the uranium mines found in Tuareg areas of the West-African Region, the inter-imperialist competition for the control of the wealth-producing resources of Mali and the placement of puppet-governments in the African countries serving the leading imperialist forces...  World Federation of Trade Unions

No war for Areva and Total!

It did not take much for our country to start the onslaught of Mali. In the name of freedom and the fight against terrorism, the (French) government arises as the savoir of Africa. This speech, appropriate for the clash of civilizations, is shameful. We've known this policy to justify intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. With what results? Destabilization, violence and armed militias in those countries that are completely divided.

No war on behalf of (the companies) Areva and Total! We refuse to make a war on behalf of corporate interests. The war will only bring its share of desolation and not solve anything. Armed intervention is an opportunity to strengthen the positions of French multinationals in the region, Areva in Niger and Total West Africa, which operate without resources that local people benefit.  Communist Youth of France

A task for the people of Mali and Africa, not imperialism

In our minds we still harbour fresh memories of French military invasion of Libya in 2011 as part of NATO, leading to a regime change; French military "residence" in Ivory Coast which was actively involved in regime change; and French military presence in the Central Africa Republic, to "protect" the so-called French interests but not to keep peace and as part not to prevent rebels from capturing that country.

This time around France is "fighting" rebels which seek to capture Bamako, the capital city in Mali. We see this as nothing but an agenda by France to defend its hegemony and advance its capitalist interests in the country and the region at large. (...) The people of Mali and the African Union must be the ones taking a leading role in solving the problems experienced in Mali and in Africa respectively, not imperialist countries and former colonisers such as France which in the first place are part of the root causes to these problems and their historical development. Young Communist League of South Africa

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