The French military intervention in Mali is increasingly beginning to look like the Libya story. It was supposed to have been a move by Paris at the express invitation of the military set-up ruling that country notionally, whose legitimacy was always in doubt. (The very last of the military coups and counter-coups in Mali since last March took place as recently as in December.)
There was no United Nations mandate for the French intervention except for the Security Council resolution in December, which approved an African expeditionary force once it is ready by coming September. But that does not stop Britain from jumping into the fray. PM David Cameron now says “a sizable amount” of British troops are on their way.
His soul is apparently in anguish once he heard about the reported burning of the ancient manuscript library in Timbuktu. He said: “This is terrible news. The manuscripts were not only a part of Mali’s heritage but the world’s heritage. By destroying them they [Islamists] threaten the world. We have to kill all of the rebels in the north.”
It is the ‘white man’s burden’ all over again! All colonial wars began that way. I am writing this from the Army War College in Mhow where I came to deliver a talk. Maybe, the fact that the hallowed grounds of this former British cantonment was an epicentre of the ’1857 Mutiny’ makes me emotional, but I truly get the sense that this Mali tragedy is going to unfold over time.
When the erstwhile colonialists French and British together go into the heart of Africa, there is going to be rivers of blood flowing. Curiously, the Americans seem to anticipate that this is going to be a long-drawn out brutal war. A senior state department official in Washington says this war could take years.”
But, ironically, he put the blame for this squarely on Muammar Gaddafi for having trained the Mali fighters so efficiently. Hmmm. Like in Libya, President Barack Obama seems to be leading from the rear the war in Mali, too.
Slowly, imperceptibly, incrementally, the US involvement is deepening. On the pretext of fighting Islamists, a new US military base is being established in Niger. The drones are going to be deployed. To be sure, the killing fields provide excellent opportunity for the US to test new weapons.
The American public won’t mind because no US soldier is going to be killed. No funeral will be needed at Arlington Cemetery if a drone is shot down by the Mali rebel.
Indeed, this is an opportune time for the western intervention in Mali. Russia has its hands full with Syria, and China with Japan. Neither wants to add another irritant to ties with the US.
Also, Russia still harbors hopes of a “reset” of sorts with Obama. China too hopes that a “new relationship” is possible with the US during Obama’s second term. After all, Hillary Clinton’s last act as secretary of state in Faggy Bottom was to inaugurate the new foundation, which will fulfill Obama’s dream of placing 100000 American students in China.
My heart bleeds for the poor rebels in Timbuktu who are going to be left on their own and butchered like the Mau Mau rebels in that part of Africa where Obama’s ancestors were born. There is even a story that his grandfather Hussein Onyago Obama was mistaken by the British as a Mau Mau, imprisoned and “whipped every morning and evening till he confessed.”
– January 29, 2013