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CPIR Statement: Mali Invasion - Lies and Opportunism lead in the New Scramble for Africa

category international | anti-war / imperialism | press release author Sunday February 17, 2013 18:44author by CPIR - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachta Report this post to the editors

Mali Invasion: Lies and Opportunism lead in the New Scramble for Africa

So, the French have liberated Mali from an Islamist invasion from the North? People are dancing in the streets. Really? Why would France be supplying guns and money to Islamists in Libya and Syria, and fighting them in Mali? And where have the Islamists come out of in Northern Mali anyway? A most unlikely place for Islamists, where men like their booze and women don't entertain the veil.

As usual, the truth is very different to what we are told by the imperialists and their supine running dogs in the media. Northern Mali, or Azawad, as the local Tuareg population call it, is an area the size of France, and is home to about one and a half million people - approx. 10% of the population of Mali. As in all of its colonies, France left a native comprador class to run Mali according to French interests, when it granted independence in 1960. This comprador class totally excluded the Toureg people of Azawad from any share in the nation's wealth - even though most of Mali's fabulous wealth lies under the lands of the Toureg. Not surprisingly, the Toureg began an armed campaign for independence.

During the 1970s and 80s, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi forged close links with the Tuaregs and with the government in Bamako. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Al Gaddafi used Libya's oil money to mediate a compromise between the two sides, and to support this compromise with large development grants. The Touregs settled for limited regional autonomy, and peace was maintained. However, with the NATO destruction of Libya, in 2011, and the brutal murder of Colonel Al Gaddafi, the Malian government attempted to remilitarize Azawad (most likely on the orders of the USA) in violation of peace agreements. In 2012, the Touregs, organised as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) began to push again for independence. Rapid gains by the MNLA led to a military coup d'état in Bamako, in March 2012, where democratically elected President Touré was ousted by Amadou Sanogo, an army captain who had been trained in the USA by US Special Forces. Within weeks of the coup d'état, Azawad had gained de facto independence - leaving Africom with no choice but to do the job themselves that they had put in Sanogo and his military junta to do. France was given the task of reconquering its old colony.

Just before his overthrow, President Touré spoke to a French newspaper, saying:

“Concerning the local Arab-Tuareg rebellions, Gaddafi engaged in mediation, disarmament and reintegration. His overthrow has left a vacuum. Very early, we alerted Nato and others about the collateral effects of the Libyan crisis. To no avail.”

Of course, just like in Libya, the imperialists needed a cover story to feed to gullible populations in Europe and the USA. Fake massacres and viagra had done the job in Libya, but nothing so exotic was needed in Mali. All they needed to do was mention the magic words "Al Qaeda."

And this is where the Malian situation gets really interesting. Azawad is barren soil for Islamists. The Touregs have long stood shoulder to shoulder with the Libyan Socialist Jamahiriya in its fight against Islamist extremists. Other ethnic groups, such as the Songhay, are even more hostile to religious extremism. So who are these Islamists the imperialists are talking about? We can discount Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). It has no substantial presence in Azawad. It's involvement is limited to putting on shows of masked men with black flags for Al Jazeera - a notorious CIA asset, which filmed "the liberation of Tripoli" on a film set in Doha, and showed it around the world as "news," while the NATO rebels were still out on the roads, being protected by NATO air power.

That leaves only Ansar ud-Din (Defenders of the Faith.) This group was only set up after the MNLA has began its military campaign in 2012. It was set up by MNLA fighter, Iyad ag Ghali, who had put himself forward for high political position in the independent Azawad, but had been rejected. He then put himself forward for leadership of his own tribe, the Ifoghas, but was rejected there too. Like any good opportunist, he turned to religion to get himself some followers. Ag Gali, however, is an unlikely Islamist, as he is renowned for his drinking and womanizing. The MNLA have condemned the group as criminals, and stated that any effort "to establish a theocratic regime" were anathema "to the foundations of our culture and civilization."

One important factor to consider is that Ag Gali had been a very successful Tuareg guerrilla leader in the early 1990s. He then was part of the compromise deal Al Gaddafi mediated, and went to work for the Malian government. He still maintains a loyal following from that time, so that we can suspect that many joining his supposed Islamist group have no interest whatsoever in Islamism, but are simply motivated by personal loyalty.

The MNLA has been very careful to avoid all taint of sectarianism, and to maintain a campaign for a secular, democratic, republic. This, of course, made life very difficult for Africom - which explains why independent Azawad was left in peace for ten months. But, assistance was on the way. Ag Gali and his Kitsonian pseudo-gang, which certainly does not exceed 200 fighters, released a statement on You Tube, claiming that "it is our obligation to fight for the application of Shar'ia in all of Mali."

Africom now had all it needed. It was no longer an imperialist force suppressing a democratic independence movement in Africa, but defenders of independent Mali from a foreign Islamist invasion. The media circus went into overdrive - though not with any facts. As said above, the French imposed a media blackout from Azawad itself. But, the time has long gone when the Western media were interested in any fact but one, i.e. there are vast mineral resources under the soil of Africa, and "we" must protect those régimes willing to turn it all over to "us."

The Communist Party of the Irish Republic expresses our solidarity with the MNLA, and commends it's determination and discipline in the face of foreign invasion. We are relieved that it's forces remain intact, despite the cowardly aerial bombardments of the French, which have taken the lives of hundreds of fighters and civilians and have caused terrible injuries to men, women and children. Given the current circumstances, we have confidence that the MNLA will take the correct course of action in Azawad. As anti-imperialist comrades, we would offer the view that the break up of Mali is unlikely to be helpful to African efforts to resist the genocide that Africom has planned for it - The New Scramble for Africa. This was the view of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi and of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, which proved itself a true friend of Azawad and of Mali in general. The Tuareg have already shown themselves to be more than reasonable, when they have honest negotiating partners - and let's not forget that it was the Malian government that broke the peace agreements. Tragically, there is no honest negotiating partner available to the Toureg at present. The military junta in Bamako is nothing but a puppet of US imperialism and its French lapdogs, put in place by that well worn instrument of Western imperialism - the coup d'état.

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author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Mon Feb 18, 2013 01:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see that free state troops will be collaborating with the Royal Irish Regiment in Mali. Well, the free state army was formed from demobbed British soldiers, so its no surprise to see them back with their chums. Hopefully, the Touregs will give them a warm reception...

author by Irish Army Vetpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2013 20:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The last poster is a bitter little twat.

What have you or your likes ever done for this country? Sweet Feck All only whinge and moan and write shite.

The Lebanese people even pleaded with our government to re-deploy our troops in their country.

Why not try something constructive or would a real role be too much, so easy to sit their in your bedsit typing criticism of others.

Heres hoping you manage to get more than a dozen into your silly little "party"

author by Abd al-Kadirpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2013 07:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On the contrary. We, the people, put guns in the hands of Irish soldiers in order to defend Ireland. Not to help France to control its uranium supply.

Just like our Afghanistan adventure, this will not end well.

Excellent article, Droighneán Donn.

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Tue Feb 19, 2013 08:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The free state army has never protected the Irish, on the contrary, they murdered 77 Irish POWs in the prisons, and hundreds of others on back roads. When Irish people were butchered in Derry, they stood idly by. But, thank God, we had Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi to arm the Irish people for our own protection and dignity. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam ró-uasal.

author by Abd al-Kadirpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2013 19:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Go slánaí Allah é, agus a ṡlioċt, agus slioċt a ṡleaċta.

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see that French "Socialist" Francois Hollande is to get a UNESCO Peace Prize for invading Mali. Sure, why not - if serial drone killer Obama get a Nobel Peace Prize, why wouldn't Hollande get one from the UN.

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author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Fri Feb 22, 2013 17:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Really, I dont think the MNLA sees the break up of Mali as an ideal solution. But, a military junta has hi-jacked power in Bamako by coup d'état, and arrested the elected president. Now we have had a French invasion in support of that unelected military junta. What is the MNLA supposed to do? The situation is made much worse by the fact that the junta is mostly made up of members of the Mende tribe, who have been traditionally hostile to the Tuaregs.

This is something that RTÉ and the rest of the Irish media have hidden from the Irish people. The free state soldiers are not going to support a democratic government in Mali. They are going to support a military junta that seized power from the elected government by coup d'état in March 2012.

author by HOPEFULpublication date Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors


"Timbuktu’s Destruction: Why Islamists Are Wrecking Mali’s Cultural Heritage," by Ishaan Tharoor for Time Magazine, July 2:

It was a singular, defining act of barbarism, beamed out live for the world to see. In March 2001, Taliban fighters and grandees clustered around the famed giant statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province, laid explosives at their feet and blew them up. The extremists’ shadowy leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, lauded the destruction of the two towering 6th century monuments: “Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them.”
Similar language and zeal was on air Monday when news emerged of an Islamist faction in Mali desecrating a number of tombs in the ancient city of Timbuktu, which in recent months fell under control of a separatist insurgency. “The destruction is a divine order,” said a spokesman from Ansar Dine, a radical outfit with alleged links to al-Qaeda. According to reports, the militants have set about tearing down centuries-old mausoleums of Muslim holy men in Timbuktu, a Saharan crossroads known in lore as “the city of 333 saints” and long a fabled destination for backpacking tourists. UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural agency, says as many as half of the city’s shrines “have been destroyed in a display of fanaticism.”

In the puritanical strain of Islam adhered to by Ansar Dine (and the Taliban), veneration of Sufi saints counts as idolatry, a heretical practice that cannot be tolerated. Militants bearing guns, pickaxes and shovels reduced to rubble the tomb of Sidi Mahmoud, who died in 955 A.D. They have also knocked down tombs of two other prominent medieval saints, Sidi Moctar and Alpha Moya. One Ansar Dine spokesman told the BBC that they plan to destroy every single Sufi shrine in the city, “without exception.”...

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Sat Feb 23, 2013 13:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Funny that we have people coming on here quoting Time Magazine, as if it was "the whole truth." In fact, much less was done in Mali than than the destruction of ancient monuments being done in Libya or Syria, and yet, the French et al, are supporting the Islamist destroyers in those countries. We had the French telling us that the Library in Timbuktu was destroyed by Islamists. Turns out that not one single book was damaged.

Why didn't NATO bomb Fianna Fáil, when they were building a motorway through one of the most sacred places in Europe - Teamhair? Why? Because NATO doesnt give a damn about historical monuments.

author by HOPEFULpublication date Sun Feb 24, 2013 09:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thomas Fessy for BBC News, February 15:

Algalas ag Moutkel points his left arm at the writing on the wall of the cell in which he was incarcerated during the rule of militant Islamists in Gao in northern Mali.
Each day that passed, he would score it with a piece of charcoal. One month, he counted.

When the members of the Mujao Islamist group took him out of prison, he was unconscious at the back of a car being driven to hospital.

His right arm was bleeding as the militants had just cut his hand off with a knife.

"They strapped me against this pillar," recalls Mr Moutkel, a 22-year-old father of three, as we toured the prison where he was held.

He lies against it and bends his knees to show me how he was sat down on a chair.

He then mimics somebody attaching ropes around his legs, his waist and his arms.

"They were many," he says.

"Some of them wore a mask, and one filmed the whole scene with a mobile phone.

"Within a few seconds, one of them emerged from the group with a knife and cut my hand off, just straight like that," Mr Moutkel explains as he moves his stump above his left wrist to imitate the knife.

"I was in hospital when I woke up."

At least 12 people went through the same horror, either in public or at the back of the prison, according to Gao's mayor Sadou Harouna Diallo.

Five of them had one hand and one leg amputated. Legs were also cut using a knife, reportedly under the knee.

Haunted town

Mr Moutkel was accused of having stolen a mattress.

No evidence was ever brought against him, but the people are too shocked by the brutality and the barbaric act to even discuss the allegation.

A sinister atmosphere still haunts Gao.

Almost every day, the French neutralise mines, grenades or material used for makeshift bombs that were found in houses inhabited by jihadi fighters.

None of the many big black billboards declaring Sharia have been removed. They are planted everywhere.

"Al-hijab for the blessing of Allah and the purity of women," one reads both in French and in Arabic.

It refers to the dress code that was imposed on females.

They had to cover their head, their face and body entirely.

Independence Square was renamed "Sharia Square".

Children now play football in the long dusty pitch where public punishments were carried out.

An employee of the town hall laments that these sign posts are still standing firm everywhere.

"We are waiting for the governor to give us the means to take them down," the man says, he refused to give his name.

The Islamists' prison where Mr Moutkel was detained has been emptied but the white Mujao flag drawn onto a black iron sheet is still nailed into the concrete wall above the main entrance.

About 25 prisoners were thrown into Mr Moutkel's cell, which according to my calculation was about 10 sq m (107 sq ft).

They were not given any food or water.

At times, their Islamist captors would allow member of their family to bring them something to eat.

"The worst was when five persons were amputated at the same time," Dr Abdulaziz Maiga recalls.

"They were very agitated and so scared, we were completely overwhelmed."

The scars left by the harsh Islamist rule are not just visible on Mr Moutkel's stump.

Dr Maiga explains that a rubber tube taken from a bicycle's tyre was usually strapped around the wound by the militants to stop the bleeding while they drove their victims to the hospital.

"We had morphine to calm them down as we had to cut off a few more centimetres in case they were able to get a prosthesis one day," he says.

"The problem is that we did what we could already. Now, these amputees need antibiotics against potential infections, they need regular pain killers.

"But the authorities aren't supporting them at all. Many of them even need psychological help."

Mr Moutkel agreed to take me back to the prison so "people can see for themselves what happened to us here".

"People have to know," he said, complaining that his own government had "abandoned us" during these 10 months of occupation.

Mr Moutkel used to be a worker on construction sites. His amputation means that he cannot work anymore.

"I don't know what I am going to do," he says.

In town, one Sharia sign has been re-painted on both sides with the French flag on one and that of Niger on the other - celebrating the presence of the foreign troops sent to recapture the town.

But the black jihadi paint underneath is still visible.

The French and Nigerien soldiers have beefed up security with the Malian armed forces, but the invisible threat remains.

Some of the most violent militants who swept across northern Mali last year ruled Gao until three weeks ago.

They are now determined to spread terror among the population.

Gao saw the first suicide bomb attacks in Mali's history at the end of last week while on Sunday Islamist militants engaged French-led forces in fierce fighting right in the middle of the town....

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Sun Feb 24, 2013 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Any side in a war can come up with atrocities committed by the other side. The BBC are very good at doing this. And when they cant find an atrocity, they make one up, like when they showed lines of childrens bodies, killed by Bashar al-Assad in 2012. Only that the pictures were actually from the Iraq war, in 2003.

The question is not were there Any Islamists in Mali. We know that there are Islamists all over North Africa - thanks to the US, Britain and France. The question is: were the Islamists a major factor in the events in Azawad? We know that the US, Britain and France do not bomb every country that happens to have violent Islamists. We know that the US, Britain and France arm and fund violent Islamists in some countries - as they did in Libya and are doing in Syria. So, why would they worry about a few Islamists in Azawad?

The fact is that they were never worried about Islamists in Azawad, as there are far too few of them. What the imperialists were worried about was that their coup d'état junta in Bamako was losing control of the country, and an excuse needed to be found for invasion.

author by HOPEFULpublication date Mon Feb 25, 2013 07:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Stalinists write above that Sharia in Mali is no big deal. But it is if you are a woman, an atheist, a Christian, a petty thief (and they hate Israel and Jews as we well know) or just an innocent accused as the above BBC story proves. YOU prove the story false...

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seems the answer to that is when he is doing the dirty work of Western imperialism. Below is a video of Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab entering Sirte, Libya, on brand new Saudi bought 4x4s. Did the US, France and Britain bomb them to protect the citizens of Sirte? Not only did they not bomb them, but, if you look closely, you will see Western special forces driving with Al Qaeda.

Anyone who think France invaded Mali because of Islamists has no knowledge of the world we live in. France has no problem with Islamists, specially if they are "our Islamists," like in Libya and Syria. What France and rest of the Western imperialists do have a problem with is anyone at all that imagines that African states should be sovereign, and follow their own policies for the good of their own people.

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author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Communists of all shades totally opposed the NATO invasion of Libya, which destroyed the country and left it under the control of hundreds of Islamist gangs. We fully supported the secular, socialist, state in Libya, which struggled valiantly to keep Sharia law at bay - even as the US, Britain and France armed and funded Islamist gangs, provided them with leadership on the ground and air support. We know know that the British SAS was leading the gangs who lynched hundreds of Black people, and who carried out the ethnic cleansing of Tawarga, a city of 40,000 Black people. This is what Communists were opposing, while Leftie Liberals, along with their conservative chums, cheered on the racist lynch mobs and celebrated their victory. Communists still support the war against sectarianism in Syria, while the BBC and RTÉ cheer lead the sectarian gangs, who make children behead prisoners in the street.

author by fredpublication date Mon Feb 25, 2013 18:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How many arms and legs (and heads!) did french bombs amputate?
Was it more than the Islamists could do in a year? ten years?

Did they do it for ethical reasons or just to help ensure a stable supply of uranium for themselves

author by Felix Quigleypublication date Tue Feb 26, 2013 09:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It sure exists and goes back a long time. At least to alliance with Arab oil.

Obama and West back the Jihad against Assad.

But the Jihad IS the Jihad and is backed in many spheres by the Stalinist Antisemitic Left

author by Crazy Catpublication date Thu Jan 30, 2014 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Both these programmes are in French.

An interview with Nicolas Beau on the puplication of his book : Papa Hollande au Mali : Chronique d'un fiasco annoncé »

An interview with Nicolas Beau again and the former Malian cultural minister Aminata Tatraoré.

Introduction to the subject starts on the second band.

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