Your Inquirer Profoundly

Your Inquirer Profoundly offers scathing commentary and raw insight about the social, political and cultural developments of our time.

Mali: The Politics of Resource Security (Part II)

with 4 comments


France’s “welcomed” intervention in Mali, which began last Friday may have had Bamako talking about nothing else but their appreciation for France’s military support against “Islamists” in the north, but France’s presence in its former colonial territory is a reminder that western imperial interests prevail in the region; restoring national security in Mali is the guise to ensure regional interests are protected.

Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries is also one of the richest in gold, metals and ore. Mali’s Taudeni Basin which straddles Algeria and Mauritania is one of the most coveted untapped oil fields in West Africa. Sonatrach, the Algerian state owned oil company where employees were dramatically taken hostage this week by militants from the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, secured oil exploration rights in 2007 along with other companies seeking riches in the sand. But Mali is also suspected to be uranium rich like its neighbor Niger. The Kidal Project in the northeastern part of the country, the very part of Mali now under siege, has been marked by uranium prospectors for exploration. Areva, the French uranium mining company has been extracting in Niger for 50 years exporting uranium to power France’s nuclear plants. Protecting this area to secure future operations is primary for France and its energy clients, namely Germany. France sells electricity generated at its nuclear plants to Germany and Areva employs 5,200 employees in Germany. Germany’s number one soccer club FC Nurnberg sports Areva jerseys courtesy of their corporate sponsor. This past week Germany vowed public support for France’s incursion into the region. So did Canada, Belgium and Denmark countries that domicile major gold and metal mining companies conducting operations in Mali. The joint undertaking to oust Mali’s trouble makers in the name of quelling regional instability tells a tale different than that found in state official’s rhetoric.

We have one goal. To ensure that when we leave, when we end our intervention, Mali is safe, has legitimate authorities, an electoral process and there are no more terrorists threatening its territory.

This is the official narrative France and its backers profess. The hollow protect-democracy-and-freedom spiel might not continue to be so captivating when resource exploration transitions into resource extraction. Let’s see how welcoming Malians will be to Areva Mali when radioactive substances begin to turn up in wells, when the harmattan winds blow radioactive clouds across the Sahara and into the Sahel. Today hundreds of thousands of Malians have fled their homes as violence engulfs their towns and cities. The displaced may return only to be uprooted from their communities again by the humanitarian saviors who secured their land for “development”. In a region recognized as a literal corporate gold mine providing investors assurance that their ventures will be protected and profits will be turned is the central aim of the current intervention. To be misled again by the trumpeting of “enlightened states” carrying out humanitarian interventions with all the altruism and moral fervor needed to cloak the underlying motives of war, is to willfully ignore the economic factors pulling western imperialists into this conflict.

Written by yourinquirerprofoundly

January 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The French intervention is all about protecting their commercial interests. To see any real progress in Mali the real question is how do the people benefit from the extraction natural resources from their country ?

    D. Bedard

    January 21, 2013 at 11:31 am

    • France’s approach to military intervention differs from America’s heavy handed global militarism in one sense while mirroring aspects of it in another. Whereas American led interventions over the past 12 years have often been waged unilaterally, have been open-ended (no exit strategy), continued in spite of abysmal public support, or waged as shadowy covert operations (Obama’s so called light-foot print strategy) without oversight or congressional approval, France has tended to intervene in multilateral scenarios at the request of foreign governments (Ivory Coast in 2011, Mali 2012) and where protecting already established economic interests is concerned. America contrarily has a recent history of “preemptive warfare” to acquire access to new economic resources abroad and “forward engagement”, a project to prepare global rapid response teams to confront “unplanned consequnces” around the world; in other words, position itself for future acquisitions of coveted resources.

      Where France’s use of military force resembles the United States is in the way the state operates to ensure foreign investors that their investments abroad are safe. Look at how France immediately garnered logistical and financial support for the Mali incursion from Germany, Belgium, Canada and Denmark, all countries tied to gold mining, oil and gas prospecting and uranium extracting operations in the region. France, a nuclear power with the world’s fourth largest military budget operates as a corporate security force to assure major foreign investors that profits will continue to be generated in regions of the world where French based multinationals and quasi private public companies like Areva conduct business. The major difference between the French exercise of military might and America’s is the difference between the desire to maintain clout in existing regions of strategic interest and global domination. France’s more limited military capacity typically confines the global reach of the former colonial power to areas still defined by colonial borders like North and West Africa where France once dominated. America’s delusions of empire outlined in the recently published US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 stand in stark contrast to France’s military pursuits. Global Trends 2030 makes clear America’s continued aspirations to be a benevolent “global security provider” or “global policeman”. The document is essentially a confessional by failed sci-fi writers who landed jobs in America’s intelligence-security-complex. As American military operations become increasingly secretive, as the CIA mutates more and more into a special operations outfit (as opposed to its traditional role as foreign intelligence provider), as the number of foreign military bases are constructed, America reveals itself for what it is – a declinist fortress with a penchant for planetary destabilization. France’s military plays a more modest role of a corporate security force of limited territory defined by history.


      January 21, 2013 at 8:56 pm

  2. It’s all the same shit just a different backyard. It’s always to free the oppressed, give them their liberties, where they can enjoy their pursuit of happiness like any free country should. When a country hears this shit from the so called free world they had better hang on to their asses because that is all they will have left after the freeing process ends.


    January 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    • The disconnect between western powers rhetoric and action is glaring. One should be highly suspicious of any person, association, country or consortium of nations that declares they are the good and just carrying out interventions in the name of altruism and morality.


      January 22, 2013 at 1:16 am

Respond to Inquire

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: