Mali intervention – re-division of Africa?

Mali intervention – re-division of Africa?
As French-backed Malian forces continue to battle the Islamist insurgency, Mohamed Hassan, former Ethiopian diplomat, told RT that the intervention has nothing to do with Malians’ right for self-determination as France is just defending its own interests.

On Monday Malian and French troops combed the northern city of Timbuktu where the jihadists had taken cover as the fighting entered a third day.

France launched the intervention in Mali in January after the escalation of a crisis between the government and Islamist insurgents who took over the north of the country a year ago. The French army succeeded in driving the Islamists out of the main northern cities.  French troops are still stationed in Mali, though there have been talks of troop withdrawal after the Islamists were out of the country.  President Francois Hollande said last week that French troops will stay in Mali at least through the end of 2013 until a legitimate government can take over. He added that he expected more than 4,000 French troops in Mali to pull out in late April.

RT:Despite the renewed violence, France still plans to start withdrawing its troops from Mali this month - when do you think we'll see a complete pullout?

Mohamed Hassan: I don’t know. I think you’d better ask the French themselves. My understanding of the situation in Mali – this is re-division of Africa again, it’s a scramble of Africa for the second time. Mali is the fourth biggest African country. The situation there was not left so that the Malians are to solve their own problem. In fact, what is funny about this intervention is that the French cover for intervening in Mali, they say that it is for defending the sovereignty of Mali. Since when have the French imperialists defended the sovereignty of any African country? They’ve been intervening in Africa for the last three or four decades by destroying the sovereignty of the nations and creating problems for the nations. In fact, the Malian people were not allowed and the Malian political forces are not allowed to solve their own problems. The intervention from outside came because of the position of France and UK is declining on the continent, the destruction of colonel Gaddafi’s government and army and a lot of weapons were brought and smuggled inside Mali. In Mali the problem between north and south is not new. It has been there since the independence. In fact, in 1961 there was even an attempted coup against the progressive government of Mali. Why the international community doesn’t allow the Malians to solve their own problems?

RT:But the Malians asked the French to come in and help them deal with this…

MH: It’s not the Malians, it’s the puppet government of Mali who have asked. The Malian people didn’t ask for intervention, the Malian people wanted to solve the problem on the table, among the Malians. The intervention is in fact creating contradictions and finally you try to solve it in order to manage, this is a management of crisis.

RT:What were the French doing there?

MH: The French are defending their own interests. As you know, the African continent is the wealthiest continent, even though it’s inhabited by poor people. We know that trade between Africa and China is increasing and also the BRICS countries increasing. France is declining, it became the third trading partner in Africa and the US has surpassed France to become second-placed. As you know, the US put its military base in Africa in Niger. You know that 75 per cent of French electricity is produced from nuclear power and most of the raw materials come from Niger. The main purpose is that it’s France, which wants to reposition its position there and it thinks it would be dislocated from the richest continent and it’s in fact in a scramble.

RT:Africa is a rich continent in so many ways, but it doesn’t seem to have control over its inner dealings hence asking foreigners to come in and take their power away. So, how can they establish control?

MH: You can’t control your own national resources and wealth by having a puppet government, which has been put in by external forces. There’s no national discussion in Mali and there was no possibility allowed for the Malians to discuss. As far as the problem between the north and the south it has existed. Mali is the fourth biggest country in Africa, it has immense wealth and the French want to dominate the area and to put their own position there for the coming decades. The BRICS countries are increasing their trade. Africa is the fastest growing continent now. The major trade is with China. Those looters - who just wanted to loot the world of Africa as usual as they did it in the past - now they are panicking, they’ve overthrown the government of Libya illegally by NATO bombardment and putting Libya into a miserable situation. This is the same imperialist intervention for the scramble of Africa. It has nothing to do with the right for self-determination of Malian people.