An analyst tells Press TV that the military intervention in Mali by France in conjunction with the United States is “a recipe for unmitigated disaster.”
The comments come as the rebel forces fighting in northern Mali have vowed to avenge France’s military operation against them on the French soil. The French president announced the military intervention in the African country on Friday.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire from Detroit to discuss the issue. He is joined by two additional guests on Press TV’s News Analysis Program: Omowale Rupert, with the Pan-African Movement from London and Finan Cunningham, correspondent of the Global Research from East Africa. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Mr. Azikiwe, let us put this question to you as well. Last month the United Nations Security Council gave a final approval for the West African Military Mission and following the Security Council vote, diplomats at the UN and in West African capitals, they were talking about combined African mission of some 3500 troops being deployed much later this year, in September in fact, but what was the reason for this, what could be called abrupt sidestepping of African forces and France stepping in?
First of all we have to understand that the economic community of the West African States apparently was in no position to intervene to resolve the internal conflict that is going on now in Northern and Central Mali.
We have to understand that France already has military forces in Mali as well as [in] many other countries on the African continent. They were heavily involved in the bombing of Libya in 2011, they in conjunction with the United States, have been involved in training, coordinating and financing Malian military forces for some time.
The Captain [Amadou Sanogo] who overthrew the government of President Toure back in March had been trained in a US military academy over an extended period of time.
At the same time despite all of these trainings, despite all of these coordination, they were not able to handle an internal rebellion in the north of the country.
The Toure people in Mali have been involved in various rebellions ever since the beginning of the independence struggle in Mali going all the way back to early 1960’s.
All of these previous conflicts and rebellions have been resolved internally within Mali, however with this extensive training by the US Africa Command [AFRICOM], they have not been able to resolve the internal conflict and of course this provides a pretext for the French as well as the United States and Britain and Denmark as well to come in and engage in this massive bombing operation against the people of Mali.
It is going to be a disastrous effort and I think that many people are going to be killed in this whole process.
Mr. Azikiwe, Omar Ould Hamaha, he is a fighter leader; he has said that “France has opened the gates of hell, it has fallen into a trap much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia.”
Other reports telling us right now that the fighters are now only, according to the latest reports, 400 kilometers from Mali’s capital, closer than they were before the French military intervention.
So do you think that this is going to be a setback in terms of the French fighting and where do you think basically the situation is headed between the rebels and the French troops?
It is a no-win situation for France and the other NATO countries involved in this operation. They do not have a clue in regards to the conditions that exist on the ground inside of Northern and Central Mali.
They have already suffered casualties on the ground and of course the launching of such an operation, claiming that it is aimed specifically against the so-called Islamist terrorists, is absurd.
There is no names on the bombs that are being dropped on the villages, on the towns and on the cities inside of Mali.
In fact in Kono, yesterday there were numerous people killed, innocent civilians were killed, when the bombs began to drop. Even a number of children who jumped into a waterway in order to avoid the impact of these ordnances that are being dropped on a small town, three of them died. They drowned as a result of the French military operation.
This is something that cannot be contained to one region of Mali or even one section of West or perhaps even North Africa.
It is a situation that will warrant further military intervention by France as well as the United States. They have already sent in additional ground troops, some 400 that are stationed now in Bamako, the capital in the south.
It is a recipe for unmitigated disaster and I think that the international community should demand that France immediately halt the bombing that is taking place now in Mali and resume negotiations to try to resolve this internal conflict that is going on right now inside of Mali.