Contrary to the statements of François Hollande and his government, the intervention of the French army in Mali has nothing to do with the stated “French values”, “human rights” or any other humanitarian preoccupations. It is an Imperialist intervention aiming to protect the interest of French multinationals in the region. The recent collapse of the Malian state and the Jihadi offensive in the north of the country threatens to destabilise neighbouring countries, whose natural resources are exploited by the French ruling class on a vast scale: Uranium in Niger, gold in Mauritania, gas and petrol in Algeria etc.
Far from “fighting terrorism”, this military intervention is playing into the hands of the various fundamentalist groups located in North Africa. Imperialist aggression in Libya, in 2010, reinforced the arming of the fundamentalists. A good number of the weapons in the hand of the Jihadists occupying the north of Mali come from Libya. Instead of “restoring stability”, French intervention will aggravate the instability of the region. And those who will pay the highest price for this will (as always) be the people, already suffering from extreme poverty.
The objectives of this war for the French government are the recapture of the north of Mali and the reconstruction of a Malian state, subservient to French imperialist interests and in control of the whole country. This is impossible without the deployment of a significant number of soldiers on the ground, over a long period, with its own share of attacks, of soldiers and civilians killed, without forgetting the hundreds of millions of euros (and perhaps more) which will be spent by the French state at a time when François Hollande is imposing budgetary austerity on the mass of the population. There is no money for hospitals and public services, but there is enough to defend the interests of French imperialism.
The governments of Europe and America unanimously “approve” French intervention, promising all kinds of logistical aid but appearing very reluctant to send ground troops. They know that this war will be long and costly. They are generously leaving the privilege of risking their lives for the sake of multinationals to the French soldiers and leave the risk of paying the political and budgetary price to the French government.
The Front de Gauche and the trade union movement must condemn this intervention and demand the retreat of the French troops engaged in Mali. The peoples of the region have nothing good to expect from this new military adventure. It is the Imperialists who, over decades have sown chaos, poverty and desolation in the African continent. They cannot be both the problem and the solution at the same time. Only a mobilisation of the African masses, against Capitalism and Imperialism, will open up a ‘future’ for them that is worthy of the name.