In order to understand what is really behind the West’s intervention in Mali, it is enough to quote an article published on the International Socialist Organization weekly newspaper’s – the Socialist Worker – website, which contends that “imperial rulers in France and the U.S.are willing to go forward with a savage counterinsurgency–because their concern is not for the well-being of ordinary Malians, whatever their ethnicity.” and that “as in Afghanistan, a war in Mali, justified as a defense of “the homeland” against “terrorists,” would consolidate Western powers as indispensable players in a region with massive mineral and energy resources. It’s a game of positioning against rising powers such as China and India, which are also trying to establish influence in Africa.”
That game, “the great game” was, of course, never confined to Central Asia and it most certainly isn’t now.Therefore, we might be sure that under the pretext of fighting a war against radical Islam the genuine grievances of the Tuareg people in northern Mali will be brushed aside as the West cultivates and supports an elite in Bamako, to provide it with the legitimacy it needs to establish a presence in another resource rich region. A region which the indigenous Tuareg population refer to as Azawad.
Of course, on one level this is just another colonial war and while the Islamists have allied themselves at to varying degrees with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), it is accurate to contend that the that islamic element is being used as a pretext for the West’s intervention and that the real extent of the islamic factor is exaggerated with some commentators contending that Ilyad Ag Ghaly, the leader of the Islamist Ansar Dine, is in fact in the pay of the Algerians. Furthermore, this would seem to make sense when we remember that, unlike the MNLA, Ansar Dine, does not want an independent Tuareg state, which for Algeria is no more welcome to Algeria than the prospect of an independent Kurdistan is to Turkey or Iran. Of course, this does not mean that Ag Ghaly’s islamic state is the wished for alternative for, Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s, the president of Algeria, government.
It is with that in mind that we might speculate as to what was said in several hours of discussions at the end of October when Hillary Clinton was in Algiers. Indeed, we can be sure that the official American view that “there is a strong recognition that Algeria has to be a central part of the solution,” is as relevant now as it was then. This is most certainly an interesting twist and it appears to show some willingness on Washington’s part to allow Algeria to participate in the exploitation of the mineral and oil wealth of northern Mali, which still has to be fully exploited.
Clinton’s visit to Algiers is indicative of a Machiavellian mask and there is some evidence to suggest that Washington has no scruples when it comes to working with a state that sponsors and supports the radical Ansar Dine. Of course, it is a machiavellianism that will permit Algiers a piece of the cake and that has its relevance when it comes to understanding the French intervention. This is about the legitimate rights of people to self-determination and it is about them being denied that right because they want to build their State on land which has an abundance of raw materials.