What is next for Mali?

France and to a lesser extent other EU members suddenly remembered that there is a poor country down below which was gradually overtaken by Islamist rebels and decided to take action in order to restore stability in it. In particular, France deployed ‘Operation Serval’ in order to defeat the Islamist rebels who were slowly taking over the country. Paper tiger declarations were released from both France and the EU about the importance of human rights in the area and the need to protect them. The EU also decided to deploy a multinational military training mission (EUTM – European Training Mission Mali) which will train and provide advice to Mali’s military.

The Mali government had every legal right to ask for foreign intervention and so it did. In addition, various neighbouring countries in Africa as well as a number of European countries also supported the French operation. There was a wide consensus both within and out of Europe that intervening in Mali was the right thing to do.

However, one does not go to war for the mere battle of ideas and values. The French Mali mission has a substantial cost and may lead to the loss of lives of the French personnel deployed there.

Pragmatic reasons are at the centre of the French decision to intervene. France worries about the escalation of violence stemming from the extremist Islamist threat. If Mali would become a pariah Islamist state this would have a direct impact on French national security. There are Mali citizens residing in France, some of whom may become a force for radical Islamism within France.

Furthermore, the wider Western African region is rich in uranium, oil and rare earths. A number of French companies are largely implicated in the exploitation of the rich soils of various African states. For instance, a possible violent escalation in Mali could have caused a perturbation in the neighbouring state of Niger where French companies are active in uranium deals.

Plus, the French Mali operation provides President Hollande with the opportunity to demonstrate that he is doing something decisive – even if this is only outside his country. No more will he be seen as a ‘softie’.

The French and EU operations may be successful in bringing short-term stability against the Islamist rebels. Nevertheless, all Western-led operations in Mali should be judged on a long-term basis. If they contribute to the creation of long-term strategic planning for the Sahel area, then their impact should be judged as positive. If they succeed in engaging the indifferent Europeans to this poor area of the world this will also be an incredible achievement in its own right. These missions will be appreciated even more if they are followed by a long-term planning of state building based on the rule of law and the eradication of poverty. They will be highly valued if they can guarantee all Malian citizens who come from different ethnic backgrounds the right to peacefully coexist in the country.

However, if none of the above are achieved, both French Serval and the EUTM will look like short-lived fireworks in a very dark sky. It is the long-term prospects of Mali that should pre-occupy us now.

  1. #1 by Roger Cole on February 11, 2013 - 11:56 am

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it a duck. This is an imperialist war of conquest. The French state has imperialist values in its DNA as does GB as its PM declared total support for this “generational” war. I have not doubt that the Irish political elite that forced us to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty that consolidated the process of the militarisation of the EU will join in this new war just as their predecessors did in 1914-18.
    It destroyed the European Empires at the time and as this new war drags on and on it will destroy the European Empire.

  2. #2 by Paul Lukas on February 21, 2013 - 7:07 pm

    Except maybe it doesn’t quack and walk like a duck. I don’t see any proof of your bold statement in your message. Unlike you, the citizens of Mali welcomed the French with cries of joy and dances. But what do they know?

    I have seen and heard a lot the imperialist explanation in Mali. I still wait for the slightest piece of evidence.

  3. #3 by Marc on February 23, 2013 - 4:28 am

    This is better off called ‘operation phase 1 in securing Niger uranium and Nigeria oil’.

    The western world knows that the sun is setting on it unless they can continue to grab and exploiut Africa’s resources to benefit the west and not Africa. The western world was so disproportionately rich, its wealth depends on other areas disproportionate poverty.

  4. #4 by Erwin Black on February 23, 2013 - 11:30 am

    The West Africa king, the richest person in history, and the ruler of the Malian Empire which covered modern day Ghana, Timbuktu and Mali in West Africa, had a personal net worth of $400billion at the time of his death in 1331.

    On local level we call it mafia, on international level foreign policy, on domestic level we call it national security. No matter how we call this mafia practices transfered wealth from Americas, Asia, Africa into western world. Dot.

    Next for Mali is imperialist colonization. There is natural resorces in this part of Mali, something what western imperialist needs. See documentary Stolen Kosovo. Hollande is war criminal who started war in conflict with all international documents and treaties.

    It is commonly understood that Propaganda is usually employed to garner citizens’ support for current political objectives. But, these need to be placed in the proper context, in order to make them appear justified within the greater scheme of things. This fact has long been recognized, and therefore, since the eighteenth century, there has been a concerted effort to consolidate the media, in order to ensure a perception of reality, that was commensurate with the objectives of the powers that be.

    The truth is said in one of the movies form series: Why powerty? Poor Us: An Animated History of Poverty.
    In this documentary is said the truth similar to Livingston in The Dying God that western civilization is created myth. The thruth is that until 15th century western europe was by god forgotten part of the world. All was changed by tip of a gun. And that’s still in efect.

    From the invention of the decimal system in mathematics to the noble philosophy of ahimsã, Hindus have contributed their share in all fields of knowledge and learning. Over five thousand years ago, when Europeans were only nomadic forest dwellers, ancient Hindus had established a civilization, known as the Harappan culture, in the Indus Valley, the northwestern region of India. When much of the world was still sunk in sleep, people of the Harappan culture were conducting trade workshops in weaving, bead-making, pottery, dying of fabrics, and metallurgy.

    Actually, if you look at wikipedia R1A DNA distribution you can see that Vedic part, Northwest India belongs to R1A DNA. And it runs thru Asia to Baltic where Lithuanian language is Sanskrit itself, as once were all Slavic languages.