By Ernst Wolff, Global Research
Amid continuing offensives by French troops in Mali, the imperialist powers are making clear that the assault on Mali is part of a lasting, neo-colonial escalation of military intervention throughout Western Africa and beyond.
“This is a global threat and it will require a global response… that is about years, even decades, rather than months,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said over the weekend.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian defined his aim in Mali as “the total re-conquest of the country,” using troops provided by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). France, which is currently spearheading the war in Mali, plans to expel Tuareg and Islamist fighters from Mali to pursue its agenda. Its goal is to stabilize the corrupt regime in Bamako, currently led by the military junta of Captain Amadou Sanogo, as its stooge regime in Mali, where France has significant corporate interests.
Similarly, British Foreign Secretary William Hague held up the current war in Somalia as an example for Mali on how to create space for a “legitimate government” to function. He said, “This has led to a lot of progress in Somalia. What we don’t want in countries like Mali is the twenty years of being a failed state that preceded all of that in Somalia.”
Such a comment could not be more chilling. In fact, Somalia continues to be a deeply impoverished country, torn by civil war, and which Washington regularly targets with drone strikes. Hague’s comment signifies that the NATO powers view such an outcome as perfectly acceptable, even desirable, for Mali.
The broader implications of the escalating war in Mali were laid out in an article yesterday in the New York Times. The Times quotes Rudolph Attala, a former Pentagon counterterrorism official: “To dismantle their [Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s] network, the United States and its allies will need a well-thought-out regional strategy.”
The point being made is clear: the war in Mali is not only about Mali, but involves intensive diplomacy and military operations by the imperialists to shape all of Western Africa—including Algeria, Nigeria, and the Libyan regime installed by the 2011 NATO war. The Times notes that Washington and Paris have been “courting Algeria for months,” to get Algiers’ help in Mali.