Sunday, January 27, 2013
Foreign Troops, Out of Mali! - (From the Partisan No. 33)
As the France-led military intervention in Mali goes into its second week, our Canadian government has been more than happy to help out in the western imperialists’ plot to secure its exploitative access to the region’s energy and mineral resources.
Since January 17, the Canadian government has been flying in troops, military supplies and machinery to aid the French military’s fight against loosely-allied forces of Islamist militants that have taken over much of northern Mali and some cities in the south.
While many Malians in the South despise these rebels, the conflict is far from being one our government wants us to believe: Islamicist terrorists versus a terrorized population. Many of the rebel groups have significant support from the population, especially in the country’s north. In fact, many analysts say the conflict is less about a push for Islamic rule and more about self-determination for the Tuareg desert people, who live in the region including Mali, Algeria, Libya and Niger and have been continually marginalized and dispossessed as international and national bourgeois forces pursue their insatiable appetites for the region’s gold, uranium, oil and natural gas.
It is the region’s resources alone explain the West’s interest in Mali. The reality that instability in Mali can trigger instability in surrounding weak states, thereby threatening France and other government’s prioritized access to cheap resources, adds to France’s motivation.
France is notorious for locking governments of its former colonies, including Mali and many of its neighbours, into woefully unfair financial and resource deals. Mali’s currency is partly controlled by the French and the French own huge shares of key industries in Mali and other former French colonies.
This military intervention is nothing new. France is also known for continuing a close military relationship with its economic friends in power; in recent years, the French have shored up capitalist dictators in Ivory Coast, Gabon, Chad, Niger and the Republic of Congo.
So why has Canada gotten involved in this intervention? Let’s throw the terrorist threat justification out the window. The idea that these small, extremely fractious groups could enact terrorism on an international scale is laughable. Besides, numerous recent interventions around the world, including in Libya and Afghanistan, prove that morality or ideology have nothing to do with military policy, it comes down to securing economic footholds.
As our comrades at the Parti Communiste Maoïste de France (PCMF) explain in a statement on the intervention, “The ‘Islamist threat’ is used as a pretext by the imperialists to fight the popular revolts in Africa and deflect the anger of the people in Europe and other countries [away from their own governments and toward Islamacists].”
Canada feels responsible to support the Western imperialist bloc in Africa as it competes with other imperialist blocs. “Africa has become the economic battlefield between the Western imperialists and new imperialists (China, Russia) and emerging countries (Brazil and India),” the PCMF adds.
Canada itself is reaping heavy profits from mining in the continent (including the displacement and destruction of communities and livelihoods). In volatile African countries that pose many challenges to quick-and-dirty profits, imperialist allies know they need to help each other out once in a while.
For the capitalist imperialist forces, invading a weak country like Mali is relatively inexpensive and brings huge economic rewards. The cost comes to the people of Mali —they’re the ones who suffer as their government hands over its resources at rock-bottom prices to the French and other imperialist overlords.
* * *