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U.S. hands off Mali, U.S. out of Africa!

UN approved military intervention will have tremendous human cost
By staff |
January 2, 2013
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Many people first heard about plans for U.S. intervention in the African country of Mali during the third Presidential debate in October. Republican candidate Mitt Romney clumsily tried to speak about Mali’s recent turmoil.

On Dec. 20, 2012, those plans continued to move forward. The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for military invention in Mali. The resolution comes after nearly nine months of unrest in the landlocked West African country following a military coup d'état in Bamako, the capital.

For months, international human rights organizations warned about the human cost of military intervention in Mali. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in West Africa estimates that intervention will displace more than 300,000 Malians. Additionally, the 500,000 people living in northern Mali will face food insecurity, starvation and disease because of reduced access to aid.

While the UN resolution calls for an African-led military intervention under the guise of combating Islamist militants in the north, the actual architects of the intervention are the U.S. and France. The plan is meant to further U.S. plans for re-colonizing Africa. The U.S. is expanding AFRICOM, a U.S. regional command and military force. In 2001 the U.S. Central Command took over a large French military base located in Djibouti, and this became AFRICOM military headquarters in 2009. Djibouti is a small and very poor African state and former French colony, where a demi-brigade of the French Foreign Legion is still stationed today. As part of AFRICOM expansion, the U.S., with French help, is pressuring Algeria for military “basing rights”. This Algerian base will be used to launch attacks in Mali.

Mali is facing an internal rebellion in the north that began in January 2012. The roots of the rebellion in Mali lie in NATO's military assault on Libya in 2011. Under Qaddafi's government, Libya's tribes and ethnic minorities enjoyed relative autonomy and freedom. When NATO began its offensive against Libya, many of these ethnic minorities fought against the reactionary forces supported by the U.S., France and Britain.

One of the groups affected by NATO's assault in Libya was the Taureg people, who are a nomadic ethnic group located in Libya, Mali and other West African countries. Many Taureg militants fought to keep Libya independent of U.S. control, but left Libya once Gaddafi was brutalized and executed. After crossing through Niger and into Mali, they began fighting to demand greater power for their people and a Mali independent of U.S. or French dominance.

Shortly after the rebellion in Mali broke out, the Malian military overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré in a coup d'état on March 21, 2012. Claiming that Touré was mismanaging the government response to the Taureg rebellion in the north, the military junta suspended the constitution and took control of the state.

Since that time, Islamist forces joined the conflict against the military junta. The most significant of these groups is Ansar Dine, an Islamist group based in northern Mali, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The U.S. claims that military intervention is necessary to combat radical Islamist groups from taking control of Mali. In reality, the Malian government met directly with the two most significant rebel groups in the north on Dec. 4 to start a dialogue for resolving the crisis. Government officials met with Ansar Dine and the Taureg-led National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and formally agreed "on the respect for Mali's national unity and territorial integrity," and "on the rejection of any form of extremism and terrorism," according to the AFP. Delegates from the Malian government and the most important players are attempting to resolve the crisis internally, without U.S. and French-directed military intervention.

The U.S., France and Britain will train, supply and direct troops from Mali and neighboring African countries. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will spearhead the intervention. ECOWAS is chaired by Côte d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, a puppet of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In March 2011, the French military launched an offensive against Côte d'Ivoire to remove then-President Laurent Gbagbo and install Ouattara as a puppet. The military intervention by ECOWAS will include significant forces from both Côte d'Ivoire and Libya, both with governments installed by France and the U.S.

The U.S., France and Britain increasingly intervene in Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Sudan. Meanwhile, the U.S. looks to erect new military bases for their military forces of AFRICOM. Having lost some their foothold on the continent due to the national liberation movements of the 20th century, the U.S., France and Britain are deliberately working to recolonize Africa.

Military intervention in Mali does not receive the same coverage by the corporate media in the U.S. as aggression towards Iran and Syria. However, anti-war and international solidarity activists should stand resolutely against U.S. intervention in Mali's affairs, whether through AFRICOM or neighboring puppet governments.

U.S. Hands Off Mali!



Tom Burke wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

Djibouti HQ according to US national security officials

According to NBC's Richard Engel and Robert Windrem interview with US national
security officials, the US AFRICOM headquarters is in Djibouti.

"The US Africa command, headquartered in Djibouti in East Africa, is coordinating the US operation, said the officials."

Anonymous wrote 3 years 4 weeks ago

Resounding NO (to US intervention)

Sure, AFRICOM is commanded from Kelley Barracks near Stuttgart Germany, but that was not always so, and the use of "military headquarters" while technically wrong was meant to capture the fact there are up to 2300 US troops in Djibouti, Africa. The US military interventions and war on African peoples will be coming from Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa, not Germany. Bring the troops home now--from Afghanistan to Africa, from Germany to Colombia. Bring them home and stop the US wars and military interventions!

This information below is interesting to note and it is good to clarify the facts:

In general, U.S. Unified Combatant Commands have an HQ of their own in one location, subordinate service component HQs, sometimes one or two co-located with the main HQ or sometimes spread widely, and a wide range of operating locations, main bases, forward detachments, etc. USAFRICOM initially appears to be considering something slightly different; spreading the actually COCOM HQ over several locations, rather than having the COCOM HQ in one place and the putative 'U.S. Army Forces, Africa', its air component, and 'U.S. Naval Forces, Africa' in one to four separate locations. AFRICOM will not have the traditional J-type staff divisions, instead having outreach, plans and programs, knowledge development, operations and logistics, and resources branches.[33] AFRICOM went back to a traditional J-Staff in early 2011 after GEN Ham took command.

Ciaran Goggins wrote 3 years 4 weeks ago

Considering cyberspace.

Azawad has a right to international recognition, this has been stymied as the Pentagon does not want the Uranium rich areas to fall into "Islamist" hands

Anonymous wrote 3 years 4 weeks ago

Kneejerk article- Please educate yourselves

Thanks to the comment above: A Resounding No.

Mali has asked for help because the criminals who are destroying cultural sites, cutting off hands and feet, banning music and instituting charia law in the 2/3 of Mali that are occupying must leave.

A minority group (MNLA) is seeking independence for an ethnic minority (Tuareg) that doesn't want it, on a piece of land that it has never owned (or ruled) at any point of time in history, in the midst of much larger communities that were never consulted on the matter.

Some have insinuated that the French colonial powers were responsible, at the time of the independence of Mali, for drawing its map so as to include the lands occupied by the Tuaregs. The Mali Empire was at the origin of building Timbuktu into a city of learning. Its successor, the Songhai Empire covered all the territories in present day Mali and much more. This propaganda is thus utterly uninformed or vicious incorrect affirmation. The Songhai and several other ethnic groups in Mali have occupied the north of Mali from times immemorial to present. The work of the Mali and Songhai empires in the 14th to the 16th centuries suffices to dispel any myth of French misdeeds in this matter - when French colonization only started in the late 1800s (i.e., 1880). The wars and atrocities are the actions of a very small and self-appointed minority.

The MNLA propoganda tries to seperate the MNLA from the other jihadist groups such as the Ansar Dine who are currently imposing sharia law in northern Mali. This is an attempt to attract international sympathy for their separatist claims. In fact the groups are acting together and cannot be seperated. This includes AQIM and the drug smugglers.

Anonymous wrote 3 years 4 weeks ago

A Resounding No.

There is so much that is wrong about this article I do not even know where to begin:

Firstly, AFRICOM military headquarters are not in Djibouti.

Secondly, the roots of the Touareg (MNLA) separatist movement's grievances do not lie in NATO's 2011 air campaign in Libya. Additionally, the certain radical Islamist groups were involved in organized conflict against the governments of Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, Niger and Chad for years prior to this most recent flare up in Mali.

The agreement between the Government of Mali, the MNLA, and Ansar al-Dine was a symbolic event, seeing as the Ansar Dine has no intentions of honoring agreements with either the MNLA nor the government of Mali.

Intended forces for the planned ECOWAS mission will not include significant forces from Libya.

Ultimately, much more research needs to conducted on the part of the authors for this article in order to understand the nuanced cultural and historical background to this most recent conflict in the Republic of Mali.

Anonymous wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

Great post. No one is talking

Great post. No one is talking about Mali but it will quickly turn into another Libya if we don't stop the NATO imperialist.