France/US Score Big in Mali: 'Immense Human Suffering'
Bill Van Auken reminds us that the US-French intervention in Mali has been touted as “humanitarian”, “aimed at rescuing Malian people from Islamists.” He declares, “the reality is that the war has unleashed immense human suffering.”
The United Nations refugee agency has reported that some 40,000 Malians have fled the fighting, seeking safety in refugee camps in neighboring Burkina Faso. The bulk of those crowded into the refugee camps in Dijbo, in northern Burkina Faso, are Tuaregs, who left to escape the French bombing and out of fear that Malian troops would exact retribution on the minority population for having risen in revolt against the central government.
Since France, backed by Washington, launched its “intervention” January 11, 2013, 4,000 Malians have fled into Mauritania. The UN high commissioner for refugees, reports Van Auken, only a week into the “neo-colonial” war warned that soon up to 300,000 people could likely be displaced inside Mali, and 400,000 additionally displaced in neighboring countries.
Van Auken explores reports of the UN news agency, IRIN:
... farming families had been unable to tend their fields because of the fighting and had fled in fear of starvation. It also reported that, while schools have reopened in the city of Timbuktu, they are largely empty because so many students and teachers have joined the surge of refugees. ... Stocks of food and water are proving inadequate to deal with the number of refugees, threatening to produce a humanitarian catastrophe.
Does this sound like humanitarian intervention or does it sound like DISASTER CAPITALISM one more time?
As frosting on the proverbial cake, REAPER drones are being generously provided by the U.S., according to a report in Monday’s Wall Street Journal reports Van Auken. The Obama administration is “markedly widening its role”.
The stepped-up use of US drones in the Mali war follows last month’s announcement of the deployment of at least 100 US troops to neighboring Niger, where an agreement was reached with the local government to allow Washington to set up a drone base on the country’s territory. While presently, the US claims that it is only flying unarmed surveillance drones, the establishment of the base creates the conditions for the Obama administration to spread its campaign of remote-control killings throughout West and Central Africa.
While justifying its intervention as a response to the growing presence of Al Qaeda-linked forces—which overran northern Mali only after they were utilized by Washington as ground troops in the US-NATO war to topple the regime of Col. Muammar Gaddafi in neighboring Libya—the real aims being pursued by US imperialism are asserting US hegemony over the region’s extensive oil, uranium and other mineral wealth and countering the rising economic influence of China.
The Journal article quoted an unnamed Western official as stating that the US role in Mali represented a “rare North African success story,” in which Washington had rolled out a new “counterterrorism strategy of working ‘by, with and through’ local forces.”
In other words, US imperialism is attempting to prosecute its predatory campaign in Africa by counting on the region’s servile national bourgeois elites to provide African troops as a proxy force.
So, this is how it begins, yet again. Poor Africa.
1,200 French troops and 800 US-trained special forces soldiers from Chad and Mali troops are fiercely going after alleged Islamist fighters in the mountain region of northern Mali. France has decided to keep its 4,000 “expeditionary force” until July (to be redetermined?) instead of the end of March which was originally planned.
Van Auken takes a hard look at the U.S.’s leading-cravenly-from-behind (once again) role:
Chadian officials acknowledged that the Chadian unit fighting in Mali, the Special Anti-Terrorism Group, had been trained by US Green Berets. According to the Journal , US officials claimed that “American forces didn’t accompany the Chadian unit into Mali.” Any such direct involvement by US forces in ground fighting in Mali would undoubtedly be carried out covertly.
In addition to the Chadian unit, other US-trained African troops are being readied for possible deployment to Mali.
Gen. Carter Ham, the chief of AFRICOM, the US military command overseeing the African continent, flew last week to Mauritania for closed-door meetings with the country’s president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and senior military officials. He also addressed Mauritanian, US and French soldiers engaged in combined military exercises in southern Mauritania, near the border with Mali.
The exercise, known as “Flintlock 2013,” is part of an annual series organized by Pentagon since 2000, before the so-called “global war on terror” and the invocation of Al Qaeda as a pretext for worldwide interventions.
Once again the GWOT conveniently allows an excuse for the faux-humanitarian interventionists a/k/a disaster capitalists a/k/a faux-defenders of democracy to set ablaze another continent.
As for the plight of the hapless human beings there? Bugsplats! Collateral damage! "Ends justifies the means" cannon (and drone) fodder!
Who cares about the escalating number of victims, dead or turned into permanent struggling refugees?
France? The Obama regime?