Preplanned Mali invasion reveals France's neo-colonialistic
By Finian Cunningham
January 16, 2013 "Information
- The speed and extent with which French
warplanes have been deployed over the weekend in the
West African country, Mali, point to a well-honed plan
for intervention by the former colonial power.
Indeed, such is the careful choreography of this salient
military development that one could say that the French have
finally given themselves a green light to execute a plan
they had been pushing over several months. That plan is
nothing less than the neocolonial re-conquest of its former
colony in the strategically important West African region.
Within hours of the Malian government requesting military
support to counter an advance by rebels from the northern
territory, French warplanes began carrying out air strikes
on Friday. The attack sorties have reportedly been conducted
for at least three consecutive days. Media reports said that
French Mirage and Rafale fighter jets had struck across a
wide belt of the remote Sahelian country, from Gao and Kidal
in the northeast, near the border with Algeria, to the
western town of Lere, close to Mauritania.
The warplanes were dispatched from France and also
reportedly from Chad. The French government claimed that it
had been granted over-flight permission by Algeria. Both
North African neighboring countries are also former French
The air strikes by the French jets on at least six widely
dispersed target areas within Mali cover an operational
distance of nearly 2,000 kilometers, from east to west. This
level of co-ordination indicates several weeks of planning
and belies the appearance that the French government was
responding in an impromptu fashion to a sudden call for
assistance from the Paris-aligned Malian authorities.
In addition, over the weekend some 500 French troops arrived
in the southern Malian capital of Bamako and the strategic
town of Mopti, which is situated near the rebel-held
The dramatic French intervention has all the hallmarks
of a meticulous plan that was on a hair-trigger for
action. The taking over by rebels last Thursday of the
town of Konna, 45 kilometers from Mopti, near the de
facto north-south frontier, and the subsequent alarm
call from the Malian government in Bamako can therefore
be seen as merely a green light for the detailed French
plan to swing into action.
Furthermore, the French government has received swift
support from other European countries and the United States.
Britain has sent RAF CI7 cargo planes from a base in East
England to Paris in order to help with French supply of
troops, helicopters, trucks other heavy equipment.
Washington has said it will provide logistics and
communications. Both American and French surveillance drones
have been operational in Mali and adjacent countries for
France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was quick to hail
the weekend air strikes a success in halting Malian
“terrorists.” Fabius said the French military involvement
would be for a “matter of weeks.” However, the extensive
mobilization of troops and warplanes and the geopolitical
backdrop to the development suggest otherwise. Perhaps
mindful of this, Fabius was keen to emphasize that the Mali
intervention would not turn out to be “another Afghanistan.”
Officially, Paris, London and Washington have up to now been
pushing for an African-led intervention force to take the
military lead in assisting the Malian government to quash a
separatist rebellion in the northern half of the country.
The northern region was taken over last April by Tuareg
rebels in league with Islamist militia belonging to Ansar
Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.
The rebels have managed to consolidate their control over
the vast and largely desert region around the main city of
Timbuktu. Northern Mali covers an area the size of France
and is sparsely populated with less than two million people.
West African states, including Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina
Faso, Benin and Niger, are charged with assembling an
intervention force at the behest of the Western powers. Last
month, the United Nations Security Council gave final
approval for the West African military mission to shore up
the shaky government that is based in Bamako in the far
south of the country, thousands of kilometers from the upper
Following the Security Council vote, diplomats at the UN and
in West African capitals were talking about the combined
African mission of some 3,500 troops being deployed much
later this year, in September at the earliest. This was a
view held by Romano Prodi, the UN’s top envoy to Mali, which
was reported only days before the French military
The abrupt side-stepping of the African forces points up
the real agenda of the Western powers and France in
particular. What we are seeing now, with the rapid,
large-scale French deployment, is the true neocolonial
nature of this agenda. All the previous talk by Paris,
London and Washington on the importance of intervention
having “an African face” can be seen as cynical cover
for direct Western action.
Only three months ago, President Francois Hollande vowed to
French media that there would be “no French boots on the
ground” in Mali. Evidently, official calculations have
France and its Western allies have been assiduously taking
up the international security threat allegedly posed by the
rebels in Mali. Much is being made of alleged links between
the Islamist militants and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.
President Hollande has repeatedly warned that French and
European security is at risk if the rebels in Mali
strengthen their control.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said at
the weekend: “Both leaders [Cameron and Hollande] agreed
that the situation in Mali poses a real threat to
international security given the terrorist activity there.”
American politicians, military chiefs and media have also
been waxing lyrical for months on how Mali represents the
globe’s new “terror central” and that Western governments
must act decisively to defeat the danger.
However, the precise nature of this “Islamist threat” from
Mali is never spelled out or evidenced. We are expected to
accept the word of Paris, London and Washington - the rogue
states that have and are conducting illegal wars in
Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
What we do know, however, is that the half century
post-colonial borders of Mali are an alien imposition on
nomadic peoples in the northern region - cultures that
date backed thousands of years. Their rebellion against
a remote and up to now indifferent colonialist-appointed
administration in Bamako is probably a just cause. The
French and its Western allies are therefore maligning an
internal dispute within Mali with another specious “war
on terror” narrative and in that way these powers are
giving themselves a mandate to meddle in that country.
France being the former colonial master and with decades of
covert military assets in the region is the “natural” choice
among the Western powers to lead a neo-imperialist adventure
in this strategically important region.
Mali has abundant riches in natural resources of metals and
minerals. It is a major source of gold and uranium, as well
as iron, copper, tin and manganese, and also versatile
minerals such as phosphates, salt and limestone.
Moreover, the West Africa region has awesome potential for
agriculture and oil. The Gulf of Guinea off Ghana and
Nigeria is earmarked to become a leading oil and gas supply
region to world markets in the coming years.
Military intervention by France and the other Western powers
in Mali - under the guise of “defeating terrorism” - is a
bridgehead for Western capital and corporations, not only
into a resource-rich country, but into a large chunk of the
entire African continent. In 2011, NATO’s bombardment of
Libya and French subversion of elections in Cote D’Ivoire
marked a new beginning of Western neo-imperialism in Africa.
Mali is proving to be continuation of that dynamic and to be
another staging post in this modern Scramble for Africa by