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CPIR Statement: Mali Invasion - Lies and Opportunism lead in the New Scramble for Africa

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Mali Invasion: Lies and Opportunism lead in the New Scramble for Africa

 

 

So, the French have liberated Mali from an Islamist invasion from the North? People are dancing in the streets. Really? Why would France be supplying guns and money to Islamists in Libya and Syria, and fighting them in Mali? And where have the Islamists come out of in Northern Mali anyway? A most unlikely place for Islamists, where men like their booze and women don't entertain the veil.

 

As usual, the truth is very different to what we are told by the imperialists and their supine running dogs in the media. Northern Mali, or Azawad, as the local Tuareg population call it, is an area the size of France, and is home to about one and a half million people - approx. 10% of the population of Mali. As in all of its colonies, France left a native comprador class to run Mali according to French interests, when it granted independence in 1960. This comprador class totally excluded the Toureg people of Azawad from any share in the nation's wealth - even though most of Mali's fabulous wealth lies under the lands of the Toureg. Not surprisingly, the Toureg began an armed campaign for independence.

 

During the 1970s and 80s, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi forged close links with the Tuaregs and with the government in Bamako. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Al Gaddafi used Libya's oil money to mediate a compromise between the two sides, and to support this compromise with large development grants. The Touregs settled for limited regional autonomy, and peace was maintained. However, with the NATO destruction of Libya, in 2011, and the brutal murder of Colonel Al Gaddafi, the Malian government attempted to remilitarize Azawad (most likely on the orders of the USA) in violation of peace agreements. In 2012, the Touregs, organised as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) began to push again for independence. Rapid gains by the MNLA led to a military coup d'état in Bamako, in March 2012, where democratically elected President Touré was ousted by Amadou Sanogo, an army captain who had been trained in the USA by US Special Forces. Within weeks of the coup d'état, Azawad had gained de facto independence - leaving Africom with no choice but to do the job themselves that they had put in Sanogo and his military junta to do. France was given the task of reconquering its old colony.

 

Just before his overthrow, President Touré spoke to a French newspaper, saying:

 

“Concerning the local Arab-Tuareg rebellions, Gaddafi engaged in mediation, disarmament and reintegration. His overthrow has left a vacuum. Very early, we alerted Nato and others about the collateral effects of the Libyan crisis. To no avail.”

 

Of course, just like in Libya, the imperialists needed a cover story to feed to gullible populations in Europe and the USA. Fake massacres and viagra had done the job in Libya, but nothing so exotic was needed in Mali. All they needed to do was mention the magic words "Al Qaeda."

 

And this is where the Malian situation gets really interesting. Azawad is barren soil for Islamists. There are actually far more Islamists in Benghazi than there are in all of Mali, and they have caused far more death and destruction, and yet Benghazi is presented as some sort of cradle of democracy. The Touregs have long stood shoulder to shoulder with the Libyan Socialist Jamahiriya in its fight against Islamist extremists. Other ethnic groups, such as the Songhay, are even more hostile to religious extremism. So who are these Islamists the imperialists are talking about? We can discount Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). It has no substantial presence in Azawad. It's involvement is limited to putting on shows of masked men with black flags for Al Jazeera - a notorious CIA asset, which filmed "the liberation of Tripoli" on a film set in Doha, and showed it around the world as "news," while the NATO rebels were still out on the roads, being protected by NATO air power.

 

That leaves only Ansar ud-Din (Defenders of the Faith.) This group was only set up after the MNLA has began its military campaign in 2012. It was set up by MNLA fighter, Iyad ag Ghali, who had put himself forward for high political position in the independent Azawad, but had been rejected. He then put himself forward for leadership of his own tribe, the Ifoghas, but was rejected there too. Like any good opportunist, he turned to religion to get himself some followers. Ag Gali, however, is an unlikely Islamist, as he is renowned for his drinking and womanizing. The MNLA have condemned the group as criminals, and stated that any effort "to establish a theocratic regime" were anathema "to the foundations of our culture and civilization."

 

One important factor to consider is that Ag Gali had been a very successful Tuareg guerrilla leader in the early 1990s. He then was part of the compromise deal Al Gaddafi mediated, and went to work for the Malian government. He still maintains a loyal following from that time, so that we can suspect that many joining his supposed Islamist group have no interest whatsoever in Islamism, but are simply motivated by personal loyalty.

 

The MNLA has been very careful to avoid all taint of sectarianism, and to maintain a campaign for a secular, democratic, republic. This, of course, made life very difficult for Africom - which explains why independent Azawad was left in peace for ten months. But, assistance was on the way. Ag Gali and his Kitsonian pseudo-gang, which certainly does not exceed 200 fighters, released a statement on You Tube, claiming that "it is our obligation to fight for the application of Shar'ia in all of Mali."

 

Africom now had all it needed. It was no longer an imperialist force suppressing a democratic independence movement in Africa, but defenders of independent Mali from a foreign Islamist invasion. The media circus went into overdrive - though not with any facts. As said above, the French imposed a media blackout from Azawad itself. But, the time has long gone when the Western media were interested in any fact but one, i.e. there are vast mineral resources under the soil of Africa, and "we" must protect those régimes willing to turn it all over to "us."

 

The Communist Party of the Irish Republic expresses our solidarity with the MNLA, and commends it's determination and discipline in the face of foreign invasion. We are relieved that it's forces remain intact, despite the cowardly aerial bombardments of the French, which have taken the lives of hundreds of fighters and civilians and have caused terrible injuries to men, women and children. Given the current circumstances, we have confidence that the MNLA will take the correct course of action in Azawad. As anti-imperialist comrades, we would offer the view that the break up of Mali is unlikely to be helpful to African efforts to resist the genocide that Africom has planned for it - The New Scramble for Africa. This was the view of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi and of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, which proved itself a true friend of Azawad and of Mali in general. The Tuareg have already shown themselves to be more than reasonable, when they have honest negotiating partners - and let's not forget that it was the Malian government that broke the peace agreements. Tragically, there is no honest negotiating partner available to the Toureg at present. The military junta in Bamako is nothing but a puppet of US imperialism and its French lapdogs, put in place by that well worn instrument of Western imperialism - the coup d'état.

 

Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachta

Communist Party of the Irish Republic

17ú Feabhra 2013

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I cant understand that website but here is the link.

http://m.bbc.co.uk/n...africa-21563077

 

If link doesnt work its on most recent mali story on bbc site.

 

To be honest, a chara, if the BBC told me that St. Patrick's Day was going to be on the 17th of March this year, I would reach for my calendar to check. Dont forget that the BBC told us that Iraqis welcomed the US and British invasion. They also told us that the majority of Libyans supported the NATO bombing. They also told us that the vast majority of Syrians support the rebels. All of that we now know to have been complete fabrication on the part of the BBC. I find it incredible that the MNLA would welcome an invasion by France and its puppets. Its possible that somebody with some connection to the MNLA expressed some sympathy towards the French, but that is a very long way from saying that the MNLA supports the invasion.

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To be honest, a chara, if the BBC told me that St. Patrick's Day was going to be on the 17th of March this year, I would reach for my calendar to check. Dont forget that the BBC told us that Iraqis welcomed the US and British invasion. They also told us that the majority of Libyans supported the NATO bombing. They also told us that the vast majority of Syrians support the rebels. All of that we now know to have been complete fabrication on the part of the BBC. I find it incredible that the MNLA would welcome an invasion by France and its puppets. Its possible that somebody with some connection to the MNLA expressed some sympathy towards the French, but that is a very long way from saying that the MNLA supports the invasion.

 

Maybe it is purely a lie. But is therr anything countering it?

I can read that MNLA site but does it have anything on it saying otherwise? For example does it report attacks on the french?

 

Its possible they could have temporarly allied with the french to defeat the islamists i think.

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Maybe it is purely a lie. But is therr anything countering it?

I can read that MNLA site but does it have anything on it saying otherwise? For example does it report attacks on the french?

 

Its possible they could have temporarly allied with the french to defeat the islamists i think.

 

I very much doubt it. I really don't think Islamists were a big factor in all of this - except as an excuse. If you take Syria or Libya, the Islamists have been a factor for decades. Slowly building their power over time. I don't see a powerful Islamist movement having suddenly appeared in Azawad. I think whats making it easy for France and the West to talk about Islamists is that Ag Gali and perhaps the rest of the Ansar ud-Dine leadership have Islamist pretensions. But, it seems to me that their foot soldiers are just ordinary youths from the Ifoghas tribe, who are just following Ag Gali out of tribal loyalty. If we are to believe anything from that article, they seem to have retreated to the Ifoghas mountains now.

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I very much doubt it. I really don't think Islamists were a big factor in all of this - except as an excuse. If you take Syria or Libya, the Islamists have been a factor for decades. Slowly building their power over time. I don't see a powerful Islamist movement having suddenly appeared in Azawad. I think whats making it easy for France and the West to talk about Islamists is that Ag Gali and perhaps the rest of the Ansar ud-Dine leadership have Islamist pretensions. But, it seems to me that their foot soldiers are just ordinary youths from the Ifoghas tribe, who are just following Ag Gali out of tribal loyalty. If we are to believe anything from that article, they seem to have retreated to the Ifoghas mountains now.

 

I dont think it matters how staunch the rank and file are. If the leaderships islamist then that is the problem.

 

What do u think of this article: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17582909

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I dont think it matters how staunch the rank and file are. If the leaderships islamist then that is the problem.

 

What do u think of this article: http://m.bbc.co.uk/n...africa-17582909

 

As you are well aware, the BBC is not an independent news outlet. Its earns its money by promoting a British imperial view of events. So, you always have to look between the lines to glean some level of truth from what it publishes. I believe that the likes of Ag Gali are Islamist in name only. A sort of opportunism, that allows them to tap into flows of money from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and join in the criminal activities that the Islamists in North Africa have become expert in. They are nothing like the Islamist groups in Libya, who really are Islamists from top to bottom - and yet France supported them and the crimes they committed and commit.

 

It seems to me that the bottom line is that France and the West have a regime in Bamako that it can do business with. It is determined to protect that junta against all opposition, regardless of who it is.

 

By the way, I don't think "Islamist" is a particularly useful term. Its really a bit lazy. We have no shortage of Jews and Christians who believe that all the world's problems can be solved with reference to the Bible. I would like if we could find a different word for those who are being used by Western imperialism to destroy secular states in the Arab world and beyond. Salafists would be OK, but there are quite a few Shia'a headcases also.

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I've browsed through the MNLA website, and there is not much reference to France, whichi indicates that they are taking a middle line in the hope of being able to negotiate some sort of autonomy with the new imperialist rulers of Mali. But I did find this, which suggests that they are not exactly welcoming the French with open arms

 

http://www.mnlamov.net/actualites.html

 

In addition, the MNLA noted that the return of the army, militias and the Malian administration, currently on the territory of the Azawad with the support of France, opened the way for abuses and massacres of Arab and Tuareg Azawad which engage Malian forces in the wake of the French intervention.

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This seems to be the Malian position http://www.mnlamov.net/actualites/34-actualites/247-communique-n-47-recuperations-des-villes.html (use google translate if you can't read french)

 

It seems that any "welcome" of the French troops is in preference to Malian troops who have been committing ethnic reprisals. Of course, if France hadn't intervened, then the Malian troops would not have been able to do anything, but the MNLA do appear to be taking a nuanced line with the French no doubt for pragmatic reasons.

 

The MNLA are a nationalist organisation, and I would have thought that there would be plenty of scope for the Tuaregs to maintain some level of autonomy once the imperialists ensure that the resources are secured. The French have played this excellently. They could not have allowed an independent state to arise without their assistance or it would have actually been independent.

 

So, they come in as saviours (saving Mali from barbarian hordes, saving Azawad from Islamists and from the Malians). I doubt an independent Azawad is on the cards, but some level of autonomy supported by France could create a puppet autonomous region within a puppet national state. If the MNLA are not careful they may well win the right to have the same kind of state as exists in Mali (ie, one ruled on behalf of imperialism)

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Here's the most recent couple of MNLA statements.

Declaration MNLA

 

Deployment of a peacekeeping force of the United Nations in Mali

 

 

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) noted with great satisfaction the French proposal supported by the General Secretariat of the United Nations, the African Union, the USA and other countries to deploy a United Nations peace in Mali.

 

The MNLA, in light of recent developments in the area, therefore issued an urgent appeal to the Security Council of the United Nations to accelerate the deployment of peacekeepers in the region where peace and global international security is threatened.

 

The core missions of the UN force will:

 

- Be to put an end to abuses, the Malian army in the shadow of the French intervention against civilians, including Tuareg and Arab Azawad and secure the entire population of the area

- Consolidate sustainable fight against obscurantist forces in the area with the Malian government is solely responsible for the establishment for over ten years,

- Ensure security and humanitarian response to internally displaced populations of Azawad

- Ensure and secure movement of people and goods throughout the extent of Azawad ...

 

In addition, the MNLA noted that the return of the army, militias and the Malian administration, currently on the territory of the Azawad with the support of France, opened the way for abuses and massacres of Arab and Tuareg Azawad which engage Malian forces in the wake of the French intervention.

 

Also, the Security Council and the Secretary General are asked to stop this redeployment of forces in Mali Azawad, carrying all the risks, pending resolution of the conflict.

Finally, the MNLA reiterates its readiness to dialogue and willingness to negotiate with Mali in accordance with the UN resolution 2085.

 

Kidal, February 17, 2013

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Press the MNLA

Complaint for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" against the authorities and the military command transitions of Mali

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), duly authorized by all the heads of tribes, fractions, villages, traditional and religious leaders representing the entire population of the Azawad, all regions combined ( Gao, Kidal Timbuktu), informs national and international opinion that the MNLA filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the authorities and the military command transitions Mali.

Prosecution for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" were filed with the ICC against Mr. Dioncounda TRAORE, Interim President of Mali, as the first responsible of the Republic of Mali, as well as against all his interim government installed at the head of Mali after the military coup of March 2012.

Officials of the military command of the Republic of Mali are particularly affected by this complaint and are prosecuted for "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" against civilians azawadiennes following the massacres committed by soldiers the Malian army in the territories on which it is redeployed. There are several hundred civilians summarily murdered, a small part has already been made public and denounced by Human Rights Watch and International Amensty. To date, the looting, looting, rape and murder with impunity and continued, since the outbreak of the French army operation Serval January 11, 2013.

It is completely unacceptable that the Malian army troops continue, with impunity, to subject civilians to Azawad, especially against the Tuaregs and Moors, abuses of all kinds, ranging from rape to murder without the international community to react strongly against these immoral and criminal.

We recall that the MNLA has never used these unworthy and inhuman practices. The Malian army knows that being brave against civilians gathered in their thank you against their will, but they can not count on any protection. The MNLA request to this effect, that the international military forces, especially French, which paved the way for redevelopment of the Malian army in Azawad guarantee minimum protection of civilians azawadiens exercising, any emergency, strict control over the Malian soldiers.

A review of Malian abuses since January 11, will soon be published on the official website of the MNLA.

Kidal, February 22, 2013

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Interesting to read their position on Libya and that more of their people fought with the rats than with Gadaffi

 

http://www.mnlamov.net/english/101-they-are-not-mercenaries.html

 

 

They are not mercenaries

 

 

 

pdf_button.pngprintButton.png

Dimanche, 22 Janvier 2012 14:25

For some time now, a certain section of the Malian and international press have been creating confusion in the public opinion, both national and international, by claiming that the combatants of the MNLA's senior command are all ex-soldiers and mercenaries of Ghadafi who have fled Libya.

 

The MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) would like to make it clear that within the MNLA military command there are: old rebels from the uprisings of the 1990s (MFUA - Movements of the united Fronts of Azawad), of 2006 (MTNM - The Tuareg Movement of Northern Mali, which was lead by the late Ibrahim Ag Bahanga), fighters who have returned from Libya but who mostly participated in the liberation of that country, volunteers from the various ethnicities of northern Mali (Tuareg, Songhai, Peul and Moor) and both soldiers and officers who have deserted from the Malian army.

 

We confirm and underline that the combatants who returned from Libya, fought with the NTC (National Transitional Council) forces more than they did with Ghadafi's forces.

Our senior military commander Mohammed Ag Najm, was certainly a Libyan officer of Malian origin, serving under the Ghadafi regime like all Libyan officers. Colonel Mohammed Ag Najm expressed his disagreement with the Libyan leader very early on, at the beginning of the insurrection is Libya and this disagreement was confirmed by his resignation from his Libyan army and his enrolment alongside his own people in this present struggle for the liberation of Azawad.

On behalf of the Political Bureau of the MNLA

Mossa Ag Attaher

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There seems to be quite a dose of pragmatism going on there all right. As I suspected, a fully independent Azawad doesn't seem to be seriously on the MNLA agenda, and as you rightly say, the French have played their cards very well - they have plenty of practice. But, if the MNLA is to have any future, it will stay well clear of giving even a hint of support to the French. That was the mistake the Iraqi Communist Party made vis a vie the US occupation. And they have paid for that by being wiped out as a serious force in Iraq. The ironic thing is that if the MNLA is seen to be soft on the occupation, it will be replaced by Islamists, who will present themselves as the only true patriots - and not just in Azawad.

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Here is an interesting article. You have to read between the lines, but I think it definitely points to the ethnic nature of the conflict, rather than it having much to do with religious ideology. It also gives the lie to the idea that France is there to protect human beings.

 

http://www.telegraph...ting-peace.html

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-caring-facade-of-french-imperialism/5335877

 

The Caring Facade of French Imperialism

 

The “public relations” accompanying wars has become wearily predictable. Whenever one of its governments or allies conducts a military action, there is a near certainty that the European Union will host or participate in a “donors’ conference”.  

 

One of these grotesque events has been dedicated to Afghanistan each year since it was invaded by the US in 2001.  After Gaza was bombed for three weeks in late 2008 and early 2009, the EU rushed to foot the bill for damage caused by Israel (often to infrastructure previously built or equipped with Western aid).  And now the European taxpayer is expected to pick up the tab for destruction wrought by France during its military expedition in Mali.

 

Let me be absolutely clear:  I’m fully in favour of increasing aid to healthcare and education in Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries.  Yet this Wednesday’s donors’ conference – jointly organised by France and the EU – is not really designed to reduce hardship in Africa.  Rather, its purpose is to cover French imperialism with a veneer of benevolence.

 

At this juncture, there can be no doubt that France’s “intervention” was motivated primarily by its determination to control natural resources in Mali and Niger.  An analysis published in February by in-house researchers at the defence ministry in Paris points out that these two neighbouring countries possess 60% of global uranium reserves. While exploitation of these reserves by Areva, the French nuclear firm, is “certain,” according to the researchers, “instability in the Sahel has an impact on economic projects in the whole region”.

 

Less than a month after he was sworn in as president last year, François Hollande hinted that he regarded this uranium as effectively Areva’s property.  Following talks with Mahamadou Issoufou, his counterpart from Niger, Hollande said that Areva must be allowed to extract uranium from the giant mine of Imouraren at the earliest possible date.

 

As the former colonial power, it was France which set the border between Mali and Niger.  The Touareg people who straddle this artificial frontier have been striving for autonomy since the 1960s. Hollande has been eager to quell the recent resurgence in the Touareg struggle and to bolster the Malian authorities.

 

His efforts have been sold as being part of a fight against “terrorism”. A more plausible explanation is that he wishes to make sure that the uranium in this area doesn’t fall into the “wrong” hands. It is no accident that French troops were deployed earlier this year in both Mali and around the Arlit mine – a key source of uranium for Areva – in Niger.

 

There is a fundamental dishonesty behind this week’s donors’ conference. Briefing material prepared by its organisers gives the impression that it is part of the EU’s overall development aid activities.  The objective of development aid is  defined in the EU’s Lisbon treaty as reducing and eventually eliminating poverty (indeed, the inclusion of this principle is one of the few positive things in a treaty that has a right-wing ideological orientation).  Raiding the aid budget to help a resource grab in Mali runs counter to that objective. It can, therefore, be considered as illegal.

 

This is not the first time that the EU is violating its own law.  A 2011 EU strategy paper on the Sahel  blurs the distinction between military and development aid.

 

The pretext cited is that security is a prerequisite for progress.  This ignores how it is poverty and oppression that beget conflict.

With some rare exceptions, the EU’s governments have reneged on a decades-old commitment to earmark at least 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) for tackling global poverty.  Diverting some of the already inadequate development aid budgets to military training exercises is tantamount to blowing raspberries at the hungry.

 

Apart from tiny Luxembourg, all of the EU’s governments spend a higher proportion of GDP on the military than on international development.  Not content with that manifest injustice, corporate-funded think tanks have pounced on the French intervention in Mali to advocate that Europe’s military expenditure should be even higher.

 

Nick Witney, the first head of the European Defence Agency – a body tasked with boosting military cooperation between both private firms and nations – has written an especially opportunistic tract for his current employer, the European Council on Foreign Relations. Witney laments that the “crisis in Mali once again exposed the hollowness of Europe’s military pretensions”. France was “left to do the job alone,” he writes, because of the lack of a “shared strategic culture in Europe”.

 

His proposed solution is to have a similar level of scrutiny for the military spending of EU governments as that introduced for other types of expenditure over the past few years.  This is despicable: the scrutiny to which he refers enables the Brussels bureaucracy to insist that countries eviscerate their schools and hospitals in the name of deficit reduction. Witney advocates that the same bureaucracy can simultaneously demand greater expenditure on drones.

 

Meanwhile, a pamphlet by Notre Europe – an institute headed by one-time European Commission chief Jacques Delors – labels many of the EU states as “free-riders” because they did not deploy fighter jets in Libya during 2011 or help France in Mali this year.

 

These pamphlets have been produced as part of a concerted effort to step up the pace of the EU’s militarisation. You can be sure that they won’t be allowed gather dust.

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