Stop the war on Mali

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By the Canadian Peace Alliance

Jan. 15, 2013

The Government of Canada has recently announced that it is sending a CF-17 transport plane to northern Mali to add to the military buildup by the NATO powers in the area. The Canadian Peace Alliance is calling on the government to recall the plane and to cease any further contribution to the France-led mission.

One transport plane and a few Canadian “trainers” is just the thin edge of the wedge. There is a real fear of “mission creep” as witnessed in the Libyan situation. Canada’s involvement as a junior partner to a NATO aggression in Africa could mushroom in the coming months and years. All this is being done without public or parliamentary debate. This unilateral support for war by the Harper government without consultation must stop.

The Tuareg people of Northern Mali have been waging a campaign for independence for decades, which has been a thorn in the side of both the Malian government and to those who wish to exploit the natural resources of the area. The borders drawn up by the French colonialists were never appropriate to the needs of the primarily nomadic peoples of the deserts in the north.

More recently, the overthrow of the Libyan government by NATO (with direct Canadian military participation) has allowed for huge numbers of weapons to fall into the hands of local militias. The Mali situation is, therefore, yet another case of blow-back against Western interests.

The failure of the Libyan mission is one of the more recent causes of the current conflict in Mali. Sending Western troops to the region does nothing more than compound that folly and continue the cycle of perpetual war in the region. Canada should not participate.

The real reason for NATO’s involvement is to secure strategic, resource rich areas of Africa for the West. Canadian gold mining operations have significant holdings in Northern Mali as do may other western nations. Canada’s new interventionism, which includes the building of 3 military bases in Tanzania, Senegal and Kenya, is therefore primarily about securing the area for further plunder. Canadian troops are already stationed in Niger ready to launch an invasion. We also urge the Canadian Government to withdraw all troops from the surrounding region. We also call on Canadians to demand of the Harper government that it withdraw from membership in NATO, membership which constantly drags us into every neo- colonial, military adventure of the western powers in the world.

Also of concern is the use of the “Islamist” threat to justify any intervention by the NATO powers. Islamophobia is a key tool in perpetuating these foreign advances. It is ironic that since the death of Osama Bin Laden, the US military boasts that Al-Qaeda is on the run and has no ability to wage its war. Meanwhile, any time there is a need for intervention, there is suddenly a new Al-Qaeda threat that comes out of the woodwork.

Canada must not participate in this process of unending war.

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