Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Progressives Should Oppose Imperialist Interevention in Africa

Is French Operation in Mali a neocolonial intervention?

The conflict in Mali is continuing full bore, with the French military taking the lead both on the ground and in the air and seemingly pushing back Islamic rebels based in the northern part of the country. The rebels, associated primarily with Ansar Dine, had overrun a number of cities in the central part of the country, and for a time were menacing the Malian capital of Bamako.

On Jan. 22, two key cities,Diabaly and Doutenza, were taken by French and Malian troops after the rebels holding them retreated. For the time being, this has ended the threat of the fall of the Bamako government and shifted the fighting back towards the northern part of the country. The French air force has been launching numerous airstrikes in northern Mali, including in the ancient city of Timbuktu, in an attempt to weaken the strongholds of the rebel forces.

The proposed “Africanization” of the conflict has yet to happen as troops from the Economic Community of West African States and other African states have as yet only trickled into Mali. At a recent emergency summit in the Ivory Coast, ECOWAS leaders called on the “international community” to provide financial support for their African military mission in Mali, which is slated to take over most ground operations from the French.

With many towns being taken without a fight, it is unclear if the rebel strategy is to retreat to strong points or launch a guerilla-style conflict. Ominously, human rights organizations have reported that Tuaregs and ethnic Arab civilians have been targeted by Malian security forces in a number of brutal attacks and killings…

Source: Party for Socialism and Liberation

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