Mr Hollande’s Resource War
Did you know French troops were fighting in Mali? I didn’t. A 2013/01/11 Washington Post article, France to the rescue of Mali, claimed that Islamist radicals were the aggressors.
Mr. Hollande’s action came in response to an assault by the Islamist fighters on Konna, a town about 375 miles northeast of the capital, Bamako. When the radicals marched into Konna, Mali’s weak military fled.
According to a 2013/01/18 article, Ansar Dine and How Climate Change Contributed to the Algeria-Mali Crisis, by Juan Cole, something was bound to happen there:
The weakness of the Mali government likely is related to the drought years of the past decade, during which hundreds of thousands of Malians were forced to emigrate to other countries and the agricultural productivity and tax base of the more fertile south was devastated. This economic decline at the center made it easier for the rebel Tuareg of the north to declare their Azawad. There are several factions in the north, some of them Berber-nationalist and relatively secular, but the best fighters seem to be Ghali’s Ansar Dine, and their movement south last Thursday helped provoke the French intervention …
A Washington Post summary from yesterday (2013/05/28) hyped up the rhetoric against the rebels:
When radical Islamists stormed into northern Mali last year, they seized the ancient crossroads city of Timbuktu and began to impose their vicious intolerance on people and history. They enforced a strict form of sharia law, hacking off hands and feet for perceived violations of Islam; they burned or destroyed priceless artifacts, including manuscripts dating from when Timbuktu was at the center of Islamic study of science, culture and law.
But in France’s War in Mali, Dissident Voices subtitles it Neo-imperialist Grab Dressed up in “War on Terror” Rhetoric:
… closer examination of background events shows that France sabotaged low-key attempts that were under way to find a political solution in Mali between the French-backed regime in Bamako and the northern separatist rebels. These talks and a ceasefire had opened only weeks before the French military intervention. The collapse of those negotiations paved the way for France to militarize the country – a step that now runs the risk of plunging the impoverished West African territory into years of internecine war. The cynical agenda is to create another failed state that will be more tightly under the political control of France, giving the French government a pretext to return to its former colony and the wider Francophone region. … Earlier this week, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian let the cat out of the bag when he said that the aim was the “total re-conquest” of Mali.
And a guest poster at Cassandra’s Legacy paints this as a thinly-veiled resource war:
In fact before France began its bombings on the 11th of January, both factions had agreed to a cease fire and were negotiating a peace accord. Nonetheless, France pretended to present the internal conflict as a battle for democracy and against Islamic fundamentalism and organized a coalition of African countries as a defense force. … it even managed to secure a UN resolution to justify the intervention. … The fact is that France started to deploy its troops without waiting for anyone else as soon it found itself facing the real possibility that the government of Mali could fall, and that the Tuareg could come to power.
What is driving France in this manner in Mali? It is neither petroleum nor gas, primary resources whose potentially exploitable quantities in the country are not significant, and which also easily could be obtained elsewhere. Nor is it the precious metals that the country is rich in. Rather, what is driving France to act at this time is uranium and, moreover, from a double perspective, that is, both short-term and long- term.
In the long term exploiting the uranium mines in Mali will be fundamental to satisfying the Gallic hunger for uranium on which depends its entire industrial model – one of which they are also often proud, given that they consider the nuclear energy which is produced as indigenous (notwithstanding the fact that the base fuel, uranium, is obtained outside the country).
Who is right? I don’t know, but the only MSM articles that even mentioned uranium were in response to the bombing of a mine in nearby Niger.