Déjà vu in Mali

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it . ( George Orwell )

Quite suddenly, or so it seems, news of the far flung Republic of Mali is all over mainstream media outlets , here in the USA, as well as France, Germany and the UK. In case you skipped the course in African geography, Mali is the largest country in West Africa. And, Mali matters. This landlocked, mostly flat, dusty, sparsely populated ,arid land is also strategically located since it borders on seven nations, including Algeria, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. More important however, is the fact that while economically poor, Mali is extremely rich in natural resources coveted by imperialist predators. These valuable resources include gold, uranium, diamonds, and other precious gems, iron ore, bauxite, manganese, copper, tin, marble, gypsum, kaolin, phosphate, lead, zinc, lithium and rock salt. Plans are underway to explore potentially lucrative sites rich in gas and oil deposits. This is important information in view of the current crisis there which could spread throughout what was formerly known as the “Dark Continent”.

Mali was a French colony from 1892-1960 and the region has been dominated by Islam since the 11th century. Just recently, French forces have invaded with a stated intention of total re-conquest in response to a growing threat of “ Islamic terrorists with ties to al Qaida”. No surprise that the Pentagon is eager to assist since this dovetails nicely with our ongoing , patently specious , “War on Terror”. Allies such as Germany and the UK have offered to join in, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. This intervention has the makings of a massive humanitarian crisis and yet another quagmire that could escalate throughout all of West Africa and beyond. Perhaps you will remember that we followed the French into their Indochinese conflict which then became our Vietnam War. Once again, we revisit the question, cui bono…. (who benefits? ). 

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