HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The Bombing of Mali Highl...

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:22 AM

 

The Bombing of Mali Highlights All the Lessons of Western Intervention

The west African nation becomes the eighth country in the last four years alone where Muslims are killed by the west
by Glenn Greenwald

As French war planes bomb Mali, there is one simple statistic that provides the key context: this west African nation of 15 million people is the eighth country in which western powers - over the last four years alone - have bombed and killed Muslims - after Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and the Phillipines (that does not count the numerous lethal tyrannies propped up by the west in that region). For obvious reasons, the rhetoric that the west is not at war with the Islamic world grows increasingly hollow with each new expansion of this militarism. But within this new massive bombing campaign, one finds most of the vital lessons about western intervention that, typically, are steadfastly ignored.

First, as the New York Times' background account from this morning makes clear, much of the instability in Mali is the direct result of Nato's intervention in Libya. Specifically, "heavily armed, battle-hardened Islamist fighters returned from combat in Libya" and "the big weaponry coming out of Libya and the different, more Islamic fighters who came back" played the precipitating role in the collapse of the US-supported central government. As Owen Jones wrote in an excellent column this morning in the Independent:

This intervention is itself the consequence of another. The Libyan war is frequently touted as a success story for liberal interventionism. Yet the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi's dictatorship had consequences that Western intelligence services probably never even bothered to imagine. Tuaregs – who traditionally hailed from northern Mali – made up a large portion of his army. When Gaddafi was ejected from power, they returned to their homeland: sometimes forcibly so as black Africans came under attack in post-Gaddafi Libya, an uncomfortable fact largely ignored by the Western media. . . . he Libyan war was seen as a success . . . and here we are now engaging with its catastrophic blowback.

Over and over, western intervention ends up - whether by ineptitude or design - sowing the seeds of further intervention. Given the massive instability still plaguing Libya as well as enduring anger over the Benghazi attack, how long will it be before we hear that bombing and invasions in that country are - once again - necessary to combat the empowered "Islamist" forces there: forces empowered as a result of the Nato overthrow of that country's government?

...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/14/mali-france-bombing-intervention-libya

37 replies, 2108 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Bombing of Mali Highlights All the Lessons of Western Intervention (Original post)
JReed Jan 2013 OP
dlwickham Jan 2013 #1
JReed Jan 2013 #2
dlwickham Jan 2013 #8
JReed Jan 2013 #11
dlwickham Jan 2013 #26
dlwickham Jan 2013 #9
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #20
dlwickham Jan 2013 #27
redgreenandblue Jan 2013 #36
leftstreet Jan 2013 #3
Tierra_y_Libertad Jan 2013 #4
JReed Jan 2013 #5
malthaussen Jan 2013 #6
malaise Jan 2013 #7
dlwickham Jan 2013 #10
malaise Jan 2013 #17
dlwickham Jan 2013 #25
BlueCheese Jan 2013 #12
JCMach1 Jan 2013 #13
ellisonz Jan 2013 #14
JCMach1 Jan 2013 #15
ellisonz Jan 2013 #16
The Straight Story Jan 2013 #19
JCMach1 Jan 2013 #23
JCMach1 Jan 2013 #22
Comrade Grumpy Jan 2013 #35
ellisonz Jan 2013 #37
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #18
kenny blankenship Jan 2013 #21
SidDithers Jan 2013 #24
leftstreet Jan 2013 #28
SidDithers Jan 2013 #29
leftstreet Jan 2013 #31
SidDithers Jan 2013 #32
FSogol Jan 2013 #33
SidDithers Jan 2013 #34
FSogol Jan 2013 #30

Response to JReed (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:35 AM

1. does the article say anything about the Mali government asking the French to help?

and does it say anything about the Muslim rebels killing other Muslims or are we to ignore that

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to JReed (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:24 AM

8. really?

"we" as to whom this column is directed

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dlwickham (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:10 AM

11. Really

 

Under the umbrella of Africom, the US has been systematically developing ties with the militaries of African countries, including Mali.

It has been known for decades that vast oil deposits likely lie beneath the sands of Mali’s northern desert regions.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:16 PM

26. it looks like the elected government has asked for help

and what's wrong with developing ties with other countries

we know that the Mali government, unlike the Saudis and other countries in the region, aren't sending funds to terrorist groups so that's a plus in my book

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:26 AM

9. 1st Article

Actually, the Libyan uprising was more ethnic than pro-democracy. Libya’s eastern tribes had long resented rule by the western tribes backing Gaddafi. When Gaddafi swore to crush the easterners, Nato said it would intervene, supposedly to prevent mass civilian killings.


NATO intervened on behalf of the easterners according to the article

I doubt they were Baptists or Methodists-they were MUSLIMS!

Muslims killing other Muslims was the catalyst for NATO intervening

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dlwickham (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:44 AM

20. lol... Every place the West invades "asked for help".

Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. You name it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:17 PM

27. so you're saying that the French somehow twisted the arm of the Mali president to ask for help

anything to back that up

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dlwickham (Reply #27)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:11 PM

36. No I am not saying that.

Neither did they, arguably, in Vietnam. It is just that these things have a certain way of going down.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:03 AM

3. DURec

Thanks for posting this

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:05 AM

4. Intervening in civil wars works ever so well. Ask the French about Indo-China.

Not to mention the Americans in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:01 AM

5. US Prepares Support for French Military Intervention in Mali

 


US Prepares Support for French Military Intervention in Mali
by Carey L. Biron

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has applauded France’s surprise airstrikes on Islamist rebels in northern Mali that began late last week and continued over the weekend.


The United States has poured money into training the Malian military in the last several years.
Above, U.S. Special Forces inspect weapons in Mali in 2007.


Panetta added that the U.S. government is readying plans for assistance in the ongoing operations, which scholars and human rights workers worry could continue for an extended period.

“I commend France for taking the steps that it has, and we have promised…to provide whatever assistance we can to try to help them in that effort,” Panetta told reporters on Monday.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that Al Qaeda does not establish a base for operations in North Africa and Mali,” he continued. “The effort is to try to do what is necessary to halt advances and to try to secure some of the key cities in Mali.”

...

http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/01/u-s-prepares-support-for-french-military-intervention-in-mali/

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:11 AM

6. "We have a responsibility..."

I always enjoy these kinds of rationalizations. What he really means is "We have assumed the responsibility..."

-- Mal

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:15 AM

7. Well they did say they were going on a Crusade

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malaise (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:28 AM

10. wrong war

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dlwickham (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:22 AM

17. All wars against Muslims are seen as crusades n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malaise (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:13 PM

25. have a link or something to back up your comment

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:12 AM

12. To say that the West is bombing Muslim countries is being deliberately provocative.

I'm not a big fan of many of our more recent military escapades, but it's not fair to portray all of them as a war on Islam. It's not like we're trying to install leaders of other religions in some of these place. In some of these cases we've been helping one side in a civil war in which both sides are Muslim.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:29 AM

13. This conflict is much more complicated than the article takes into account

Already, the main Toureg (i.e. Muslim, but non-Islamistd is siding with the French. The two Toureg groups (Islamist and non-Islamist) had been slowly taking over the north of the country for the last 18 mnths. or so.

In effect, the intervention has now become a mechanism to fold the Toureg back into Mali's national make-up.

Oh yeah, and to drive out some pretty nasty fundamentalists.

I really don't think anyone would want the Sahel region to turn into this decade's Afghanistan, or Somalia.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCMach1 (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 03:44 AM

14. +1

The New York Times reports a significant presence of foreign fighters:

One resident of Gao who accompanied Islamist fighters to a desert hide-out in recent months described a vast system of underground caves big enough to drive cars into, said Corinne Dufka, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Around 100 Islamist fighters, many of them bearded foreigners speaking Arabic, had gathered inside, stockpiling weapons, vehicles, generators and scores of barrels of gasoline, the resident said. The bunker was well camouflaged, almost invisible from the rugged roads, and had long been used by bandits in the area. But the Islamists were expanding the tunnels and, even before the French campaign, had been gathering in them from towns across the north.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022199540


And the main Tuareg nationalist group the MNLA has been largely sidelined according to Al Jazeera as of early December (see the same thread).

You are correct that the intervention in the long run hopes to "fold the Toureg back into Mali's national make-up," the stated reason the French accelerated the plan for intervention and used substantial military force is because the extremist/AQIM groups were pressing south toward non-Tuareg areas.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ellisonz (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:08 AM

15. MNLA has had buyers regret after siding with the Islamists

almost from the outset of their cooperation. The Toureg are absolutely critical to the whole Sahel region. A transnational, ongoing, radical Islamist revolt who cripple the whole region for decades.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCMach1 (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:14 AM

16. In terms of interventions...

...I think this is likely to be a successful one. How successful will depend on the willingness of the south to make concessions after the "Islamists" (I really hate that word - they are heretics) are defeated. I see no reason for them to not be granted a greater degree of autonomy/economic concessions provided they end the rebellion and put an end to AQIM and their lot.

BTW - there has been some talk of oil in the Taoudeni basin - but there are no proven reserves and extraction would be prohibitively costly. Mali isn't about to become oil rich or anything.

Mali currently produces no oil or natural gas: http://www.eia.gov/countries/country-data.cfm?fips=ML

Eni just gave up its exploration licenses: http://news.yahoo.com/eni-pulls-mali-poor-prospecting-outlook-131928398--finance.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ellisonz (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:58 AM

19. But they do have gold, diamonds, and uranium

Mali’s mineral wealth

Mali has abundant mineral wealth. Gold has become Mali’s second-largest export after cotton and has emerged as a leading export for the African country since 1999. Mali is West Africa’s second largest gold producer with an estimated 2009 output of 1.6 million ounces, or 49 tonnes, and total gold wealth is estimated at 350 tonnes.(5)

Several companies in Mali are currently carrying out uranium exploration in the Falea and Gao regions, where the uranium potential is estimated to be 5,200 tonnes. Furthermore, Mali has the potential to develop diamond explorations. In the Kayes administrative region, also known as “Mining region 1”, 30 kimberlitic pipes have been discovered of which eight show traces of diamonds. Diamonds have also been picked up in the Sikasso administrative region, in southern Mali.(6)

More than 1.3 million tonnes of potential iron ore reserves has been detected in the areas of Djidian-Kenieba, Diamou, and Bale. Bauxite reserves are estimated to be 1.2 million tonnes and the potential for other mineral resources in Mali includes 42.2 million tonnes of calcareous rock deposits; nearly 46 million tonnes of copper reserves; 1.7 million tonnes of lead and zinc with traces in western and northern Mali; an estimated potential of 4 million lithium reserves; 53 million tonnes of rock salt; 65 million tonnes of diatomite potential; and an estimated 870 million of bitumen schist.(7)

http://www.consultancyafrica.com/index.php?Itemid=266&catid=82%3Aafrican-industry-a-business&id=565%3Amali-and-its-mining-sector-a-focus-on-gold-while-minerals-are-unexplored&option=com_content&view=article

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:59 AM

23. No doubt the Chinese will be backing the operations then

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ellisonz (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:57 AM

22. It will be successful if the Touregs as a bloc

are given some further self-governance with the Mali (and other Sahel countries for that matter).

The tight-rope that has to be walked is to keep Toureg nationalists interests separated from the Islamist agenda which continues to be fed by the tentacles of the KSA.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ellisonz (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:02 PM

35. If those foreign fighters would only go to Syria instead, they'd be our de facto allies.

Greenwald is unnecessarily polemic, but the point about unintended consequences of Western military interventions stands. If the Libyan intervention hadn't happened, this wouldn't have happened.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #35)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 02:17 PM

37. Key word being "de facto"

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:55 AM

18. In college I had a friend from Mali. He was studying on a government grant & wanted to return

 

to improve food production in Mali.

It makes me sad to think of his hopeful attitude and his country being dragged into this geopolitical war for power and conquest.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:37 AM

21. I found this article full of useful background information:

Mali: France’s Neo-Colonial War for Uranium?
http://newsjunkiepost.com/2013/01/14/mali-frances-neo-colonial-war-for-uranium/
Gilbert Mercier
Jan 14, 2013

In late December 2012, the United Nations Security Council approved the dispatch of an “African-led intervention force” to Mali’s to help the army reconquer the north of the country from Tuareg separatists and their allied Islamist militants. But in recent days, it is not the African-led troops who have been operating in Mali. Instead, troops from former colonial power France have been unilaterally deployed to fight the rebellion in the north. Since the coup that overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure in March 2012, Mali has undergone a multifaceted crisis: a political crisis with all of Mali’s institutions put into question, a territorial crisis where the north is controlled by Tuareg rebels who have been joined by Islamists, and a security crisis with an army that is divided, demoralized and poorly equipped. Last but not least, there is also a humanitarian crisis involving more than 800,000 refugees.

(snip : a paragraph detailing the failure of the interim government of Mali, which picked by France and the Economic Community of West African States, to agree on a basis for a new Malian state with a constitution and a policy for dealing with the Tuareg rebellion)

(snip: a paragraph laying out the collapse of Mali's military following its coup against the Toure government. Branches of the services are in conflict with each other, and the ranks are in mutiny against the officer corps.)

Neo-colonialism: France’s enduring West-African legacy

While former colonial power France has championed West Africa’s independence in words since 1960, the former imperial power’s actions have continuously undermined this independence. For more than five decades, France has maintained a neo-colonial relationship called “FrancAfrique” with all of its former colonies, including Mali. Paris has cultivated this dependency by militarily shoring up hand-picked regimes in exchange for prime access to resources.

In an article titled http://www.dadychery.org/2012/05/12/financial-enslavement-of-west-africans-by-france “Financial Enslavement of West Africans by France,” Antoine Roger Lokongo explains in great detail how a terrible bargain was forced by France on the newly independent West African countries. This pact, which keeps West Africa under the thumb of France, was negotiated under the supervision of Mr. Jacques Foccart. The deal, called “Pacte Coloniale,” maintained France in control of all the key components of the new African states in all aspects of politics, the economy, and of course, the military.

Mali: France’s war for uranium passing for war on terror?

The population of the nomadic Tuareg tribe is estimated to be around 1.5 million and is split between Mali, Niger, Algeria and Libya. For centuries, the Tuaregs have survived in this Sahara region mainly by organizing and controlling the trade route of ivory, gold, salt and slaves. Their fierce resistance to colonization by France has caused the Tuaregs to be marginalized. The current problems of the Tuareg rebellion and French intervention in Mali could be linked to uranium. http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/60963 Stefan Simanowitz wrote in 2009: “A key reason that the government in Mali and Niger are not keen to give the Tuareg greater autonomy is that the areas that they inhabit are home to vast natural resources with the world third largest uranium reserves as well as substantial oil reserves.” He pointed out that French mining company Areva, had lost its almost complete exclusive right to Niger’s uranium. This could easily explain why France could not afford to lose Mali as well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JReed (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:59 AM

24. chlamor, jcrowley, Orwellian_Ghost...nt

Sid

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SidDithers (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:21 PM

28. Are you saying this member is a sockpuppet?

And, if so, is that necessarily a violation on DU3?

There are a few known socks here now, but they haven't been banned

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leftstreet (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:26 PM

29. I think the correct term is zombie...

a sockpuppet is a second, active account used to support a primary account.

A zombie is a new account created by a previously banned user.

Sid

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SidDithers (Reply #29)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:27 PM

31. Is that against TOS on DU3?

If so, have you alerted, MIRTed, PPRIed, sounded an alarm?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leftstreet (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:30 PM

32. It might be against TOS...

posters are banned for being returning disrupters all the time.

Some are more clever than others.

Sid

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SidDithers (Reply #32)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:31 PM

33. And some pull the same obvious pattern over and over.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FSogol (Reply #33)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:35 PM

34. For some it's a game...

and it's not fair to the thousands and thousands of DUers who've never been banned, who mostly follow the rules, who adhere to the Terms of Service of the site.

Sid

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to leftstreet (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:26 PM

30. More of a returning disruptor, actually. Gotta strip of Democratic support from the left since

the 2014 elections will be here before you know it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread