Presence of French troops in Africa is a typical colonialist attempt by western powers to grab African resources, a political & military analyst tells Press TV.
On January 11, France launched its war on Mali, in West Africa, under the pretext of halting the advance of the fighters who control the northern part of the African country. Nearly 2,300 French troops have so far been deployed to the country. The number of civilian casualties during this war has risen concerns among human rights groups all over the world.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Michael Burns, a political & military analyst (New York), to further discuss the issue of France invasion in Mali. Burns is joined by two additional guests of the program, Ayssar Midani, an activist against the war in Mali (Paris), and Lawrence J. Korb, senior fellow for the Center for American Progress (Washington).
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview with Michael Burns.
Press TV: What about that, Michael Burns, President Hollande had no other choice but to go into Mali?
Burns: I think we are giving a tradition of France and their presence in Western Africa. This was a typical step in the direction of a neo-colonialist attempt by western powers to grab these resources in Africa.
It is also by the way one of the unintended costs of that Libyan intervention which the cost may be in the billions of dollars.
When you see the results of those Tuareg rebels and others coming down into Mali forcing France to project power at a very expensive dispensation of funds, you can see how these wars that the west have undertaken -whether be Syria, Afghanistan, Libya- have causes on and on and on. This is a good example of that. So to me it is a neo-colonization of the West African countries. Period. We saw it in the 19th century, and we are seeing it in the 21st century.
Press TV: Is it Mr. Burns sort of like a domino effect that the west have put their hands on certain parts, for example, you mentioned Libya and other countries, and then of course, as a result of those actions, then causes other things, for example, like what is happening in Mali and then serves as an excuse for these troops to go in?
Burns: Absolutely. al-Qaeda is an excuse for every bellicose action by western powers all over the world. I expect al-Qaeda to appear in the Palau islands for goodness sakes as an excuse for ceasing perhaps an oil base in reserve there should one be discovered.
It is very difficult to make an assessment and the real issue, I think, is our great powers scramble. Also one can overlook China. China’s presence in Africa by virtue of a different approach than military by infrastructure funding other public works programs is very threatening to the west, so we have seen to be using our typical send-in-the-troops and France is very good at that.
Press TV: As our guest in Washington Mr. Korb has said, is the international community he is saying that supported something that the UN wants as far as going into Mali? Your take, sir.
Burns: Well, that is true. Those ECOWAS [The Economic Community Of West African States] countries as well as many of the governments in Africa have been supported by western interest. It is a special Bourgeoisie of rulers and a ruling class not a lot different than existed during the Russian-US cold war competition that exists today.
And those resources are very valuable. They do not want their lifestyles disturbed. Now when you look at sixty million Africans living on less than two dollars a day, you have to say cui bono, whose interest is it. I suggest it is the interest of these western propped-up governments that are vested in ECOWAS and other countries.
Algeria is a good example. Algeria has opened up its airspace to France. Why? Because the ruling class in Algeria certainly want to aggrandize the sales of their oil and other resources to France.
So you have a broad rich-poor division here which is not identified in any of the current discussions on foreign policy they are currently in vogue in the international press.
Press TV: Not in there for the resources, do you the French and other western countries getting out of Mali very quickly?
Burns: Oh, I do not think so. Don’t forget, look at the past couple of years. They were in Chad, they were in Cote D’Ivoire they have got bases all over Africa, they were in Djibouti , and no, they are not leaving, just like we are not leaving Afghanistan.
We substitute our troops for independent contractors quote-unquote which are just ex-troops being paid top dollar at tax payers expense to control a country without the national sovereign saying that we have troops there.
That is just mythology addressing reality. No, they are there, for long time.