U.S. backs French bombing of Mali
Colonial powers try to reconquer Africa
By Abayomi Azikiwe
January 14, 2013
Jan. 14 — French imperialism has launched major military operations in
West and East Africa under the guise of fighting “Islamic
terrorism.” French fighter jets and commandos have gone into operation in
the north and central regions of Mali.
These attacks follow the Obama administration’s late December
declaration that the Pentagon would dispatch 3,500 troops to 35 African
countries. The U.S., Britain and Denmark have said they are involved in the
bombing raids in Mali. The former French colony has been effectively
partitioned since March 2012.
It’s important to remember that in Libya the French air force took the
initiative starting the bombing of that North African country in March 2011. In
the end, U.S. imperialism provided the lion’s share of the logistics,
intelligence and air power that was key to destroying the Libyan state.
The Mali bombings have killed more than 100 people in the cities of Gao and
Konno and in at least three other areas. Some people in Konno tried to hide
from the attacks. “Some flung themselves into the river. Many did not
survive — including three children who drowned in the river as they
struggled to escape.” (Toronto Globe and Mail, Jan. 13)
In Douentza in central Mali, aerial bombardments have prevented victims from
reaching the local hospital. The French Air Force can’t distinguish
between so-called “Islamic extremists” and those in other groups
not on the terrorist list, not to mention civilians.
A statement issued by Doctors Without Borders said, “Because of the
bombardments and fighting, nobody is moving in the streets of Douentza and
patients are not making it through to the hospital. We are worried about the
people living close to the combat zones.”
Chaos in Libya spreads to Mali
In Libya the NATO countries armed Islamic groups to fight the legitimate
government. Now the imperialists are using “Islamic extremists” as
a pretext for this intervention. The truth is that NATO powers intervene to
seize control of African resources. In Mali there are oil reserves in the
center and north of the country.
Many of the insurgency troops in northern Mali had participated in the
resistance to U.S. and NATO bombing in neighboring Libya. The imperialist
intervention toppled Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who was brutally assassinated in
The political crisis in Mali has been developing for over a year after
Tuareg separatists sought to create an autonomous enclave in the north of this
vast country. The Movement for the National Liberation of Azawad took control
of a number of cities in early 2012.
Some Islamist groups then entered Mali’s contested northern region and
began to establish control of key areas around Gao and the historic city of
Timbuktu. With the advances of the MNLA in early 2012, tensions mounted within
the capital of Bamako in the south.
The Islamist groups that are ostensibly being targeted by France include the
Ansar Dine, the Movement for Justice and Unity (MUJWA), and Al-Qaeda of
the Islamic Maghreb. Since AQIM has been active in neighboring Algeria,
Washington tried to get Algiers directly involved in the Malian conflict.
In late March, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, who was trained in a U.S. military
academy, led a military coup in Bamako, overthrowing Mali’s President
Amadou Toumani Toure. Through its U.S. Africa Command, the Pentagon had
developed close ties with the military in Mali, providing training, arms and
The regional Economic Community of West African States withdrew recognition
temporarily from Sanogo’s military junta. ECOWAS led negotiations
resulting in the formation of an interim government headed by veteran Malian
politician Dioncounda Traore, who was appointed president. In turn, he
appointed Cheick Modibo Diarra as prime minister.
Diarra, an astrophysicist who holds a U.S. passport, has served as the
representative of Microsoft Corporation in Africa. Diarra was recently removed
from the premiership and replaced by Django Cissoko.
ECOWAS leaders drafted a plan to send 3,300 troops into northern Mali to
reestablish the authority of Bamako.
The Globe and Mail noted, “The French intervention was so hasty that
it did not wait for any clear approval from the UN.”
Failure of U.S. and French policy in Africa
The French intervention will create an even greater crisis in France’s
former colony. Mali has already been stifled and weakened by Washington and
Paris’ interference in its internal affairs.
Even the New York Times pointed out that the Pentagon program with the
Malian military has been an abysmal failure. U.S.-trained Capt. Sanogo staged a
coup that heightened instability and prompted an imperialist invasion. Many of
the U.S.-trained officers deserted the central government to join the
insurgents. (Jan. 13)
Even though the French claim that the bombing of Mali has halted the
advances of the so-called Islamists, reports on Jan. 14 indicate a widening war
and the threat of deploying more French forces on the ground. At least 400
additional French troops have been placed in Bamako.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French television,
“[The Islamists] have taken Diabaly … after fierce fighting and
resistance from the Malian army.” France, which had finally withdrawn its
forces from Afghanistan, may be facing another long-term occupation on the
African continent. (Reuters, Jan. 14)
In the same article Oumar Ould Hamaha of MUJWA was quoted as telling Europe
1 radio, “[The French] should attack on the ground if they are men.
We’ll welcome them with open arms.”
Hamaha continued, “France has opened the gates of hell for all the
French. She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq,
Afghanistan or Somalia.”
Disastrous Somalia mission
In the Horn of Africa nation of Somalia, a French “rescue”
operation failed to bring back an intelligence officer who has been held by the
Al-Shabab organization in southern Somalia for over three years. The raid
carried out against Al-Shabab positions in Bulo Marer was met with fierce
resistance, resulting in the deaths of an untold number of French Special
Forces and the capture of at least one soldier, who later died from his
French intelligence officer Dennis Allex remains in Al-Shabab custody. The
French government said he was killed in the firefight, but the Islamic
resistance movement indicated that he was still alive and was not at the
location that was attacked.
Later the Obama administration admitted that it was involved in the botched
operation. The Al-Shabab group has been fighting the U.S.-backed transitional
government in Somalia for five years.
The U.S. Pentagon and CIA have been training African Union Mission to
Somalia (AMISOM) troops composed of military units from Washington’s
African allies, including Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and
Kenya. Some 17,500 AMISOM troops now occupy Somalia to prop up President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamud’s regime.
In a Twitter message, Al-Shabab emphasized that its forces had captured the
commander of the French Special Forces unit.