France not in Mali to protect population, but 'ensure its position in Africa'

France not in Mali to protect population, but 'ensure its position in Africa'
Keeping troops in Mali, the French leadership seeks to ensure its position in the continent it once used to dominate, not merely protect the Mali population from violence, Danyel Dubreuil, an activist against the French actions in Africa, told RT.

Dubreuil is also a spokesperson for Survie, an organization that battles against colonialism.

RT:Given the security situation in Mali, is this summit aimed at funding reconstruction good timing?

Danyel Dubreuil: It’s only the next stage in the operation… At the beginning, the French government said that it was meant to be only a military operation, and a short military operation. However, after a few days they said they would have to stay for a long time to rebuild the country, so now their goal is to rebuild the country. So they have to find money anyway to do that. 

RT:Mali is seeking 2 billion euro in compensation. Do you think that pouring money into Mali help bring stability and democracy as promised, or will we see another Afghanistan where lots of money has little result?

DD: I don’t know about the comparison with Afghanistan, but bringing so much money into a country never led to any results in terms of development. If you look 50 years back, we did these kinds of policies in countries like Mali. So it’s all the conception of development policies that they have to change. And pouring money into the system that is greatly corrupted [means that] the money never goes to the people who really need them…You have to have strong political institutions, strong policies that aim to improve the conditions, the worst conditions of the people.

A French soldier directs his colleagues while creating a barrier filled with sand at a French military encampment at a Malian air base in Gao.(Reuters / Joe Penney)

RT:Let's turn to the French operation in Mali - why exactly is Paris planning to keep a thousand troops in the country even after UN peacekeepers take over later this year? Are we looking at an occupation here?

DD: It depends on the side you’re looking at. If you’re at the side of the French people, at the traditions we have since 1960, at the colonization time, we kept thousands of soldiers on the African soil. We still have four permanent bases and 5,000 soldiers there. So now the question is whether they will permanently stay in Mali. They spoke about 1,000 soldiers for an indefinite period of time. The French government didn’t say they would settle a new base in Mali, but they say they will stay there as long as they need.

RT:What are the true intentions of Paris in this ongoing conflict? Are we talking about sowing the seeds of democracy, or are we talking, more simply, about protecting the natural resources in the best economic interest of France?

DD: It’s to restore the French position in Africa, as this part of the world has been directly targeted by a lot of powerful countries who were looking for natural resources. And France has a traditional strong position in this continent. They are looking not to lose this position, they are showing [their] muscles, if you want.