Jan 21, 2013
The following article comes from the January 18, 2013 edition of Lutte Ouvriere [Workers’ Struggle], the paper of the revolutionary group of that name active in France.
In early January, French President Hollande announced French troops would assist in putting down the Islamic rebel force holding northern Mali. The first troops and air strikes began January 12, with troops from other African nations also entering Mali.
Some inhabitants of Mali hoped that French military intervention might protect the population in the north of Mali from the armed bands that terrorize them in the name of religion. These fundamentalist fanatics, well-armed since the fall of Qaddafi’s regime by mercenaries chased out of Libya, have used “sharia”– Islamic law – to reinforce their power, especially against women.
Hollande claimed the troops were sent “solely in the service of peace.” But the Malian population will get no real protection from French troops, who supposedly are going to stop the rebels from moving southward. In reality, this war against so-called jihadists is a method for French imperialism to keep control in one of its zones of influence. Whether the troops come from France or from Burkina Faso or other African capitals, these two or three thousand men don’t represent the interests of the Malian population.
Since the end of colonialism, the whole region has been kept under the control of French and other imperialist powers, in order to obtain the riches under its soil, be it oil or gas or gold or uranium. And this pillage by the multinationals results in the misery of the populations of the whole continent, deprived of their lands, chased out of regions by the armed bands that feed off the crumbs falling from the banquet tables of the great powers.
This entire situation, no matter which side controls power in Mali, forces the population against their will to submit to pillage and violence. These so-called “liberators,” are, from the viewpoint of the population, occupiers.
We must say “NO” to the military intervention decided by the Hollande government, to serve the multinationals. Bring the French troops back home – for they have no business in Africa.