A couple of months ago I watched the documentary “Schattenkrieg in der Sahara” on the French/German channel ARTE. Unfortunately, it seems that it is only available in German and French. Therefore, it might be appropriate to begin this post with a brief summary of the film and to do that I will give a loose translation of the first paragraph of the text that can be accessed by clicking on the above link.
In 2013 France became involved in its biggest military intervention in North Africa since its days as a colonial power leading to what in all probability will be a turbulent decade for the Sahara region. The documentary researched the real reasons for the conflict and unveiled the interests behind the destabilization of the region, while asking if a new era of wars for resources is about to take place in the Sahel?
A couple of salient points were made. Firstly, the French were not acting on their own, but rather in collusion with the United States. Secondly, if the question at the end of the last paragraph is answered in the affirmative, then it might follow that what was supposedly an intervention on humanitarian grounds and against islamic extremism was in fact a pretext. Nevertheless, while those points might be unsettling enough, it is the conclusions we might draw from the further point made at the end of the film that should worry us most, because it is a point that demonstrates all too clearly that it is not only the wars for resources in North Africa that we should be concerned with.
The documentary concluded by pointing out that the French airforce didn’t prevent the Islamists from escaping north to Algeria using the only road available, even if they could quite easily have bombed that road and prevented that escape. Therefore, the logical conclusion would be that they wanted them to escape. After all if there are no extremists and there is no humanitarian crisis, it is a bit difficult to justify military intervention which means that there is a very real Machiavellian, “Realpolitik” at play when dozens of militants escape and head “into the lawless desert of southern Libya, where they quickly melted into the dusty terrain.”
Of course, we can only speculate as to whether any of them were involved in the massacre of the Egyptian Coptic Christians, which in turn led to the Egyptian Air Force bombing Eastern Libya. However, there is no need to speculate as to the real raison d’être behind these humanitarian interventions and the war against ISIS. Instead, we might begin as Professor Michel Chossudovsky suggests in his article, “Obama’s “Fake War” against the Islamic State (ISIS)”, by trying to answer the question; “Why has the US Air Force not been able to wipe out the Islamic State which at the outset was largely equipped with conventional small arms not to mention state of the art Toyota pickup trucks?” Or maybe the Americans are just as incompetent as the French?