By Thomas C. Mountain
The US and Western-backed overthrow of Libya's Ghadaffi irrevocably altered Africa's continental landscape. Chad and Mali, already paralyzed by excessive debt and climate change, are in the crosshairs of well-armed rebel “movements” operating across the Libyan border, backed by the West and financed by Saudi Arabia.
Mali, Wahabis and Saudis; Following the Money Trail
By Thomas C. Mountain
Previously published at Counterpunch
“The Tuareg peoples of the Sahel, along with their more northern, agricultural cousins the Berbers, predate the Arab invasion of Northern Africa by millennia...”
A well armed and supplied Wahabi movement in the African country of Mali, funded by the Saudis, has taken over most of northern Mali and has begun to, amongst other Wahabi practices, destroy tombs of Islamic African kings, the world famous Mansas of Mali that are world heritage sites.
This latest in a series of extremist Wahabi movements exploded on the scene following the western attack on Libya and the destruction of the Gaddafi government in 2011.
Mali, as in most of the central and western Sahel region in Africa, is in the midst of a years long drought that has left hundreds of thousands starving and millions more, especially children, damaged by malnutrition. With the pastoral, nomadic economy collapsing where did the sudden major influx of funds come from that allowed the rapid expansion of the Wahabi movement in the Sahel to take place?
While human trafficking and to a much lesser extent, drug smuggling, has been a source of income for the criminal elements of the Tuareg peoples of the region, since the western military destroyed the Gaddafi government in Libya in 2011, the major destination of the human traffickers, the numbers of migrants trafficked by the criminal gangs to Libya has fallen to a fraction of its past levels and most of the cash flow for these criminals has dried up.
The Tuareg peoples of the Sahel, along with their more northern, agricultural cousins the Berbers, predate the Arab invasion of Northern Africa by millennia and have long been victims of marginalization by both the western, mainly French, colonialists and later the neocolonialist regimes installed by their former western masters.
In the case in Chad, the French uranium mines have polluted the ground water and left the land literally life threatening. As a result for decades now the Tuareg have been in an ongoing state of armed resistance to the crimes committed against their people and have a legitimate claim to much of the Sahel region, in the case of Mali, the land of “Azawad” as they have proclaimed it.
But the traditional Tuareg fighters, suffering from famine and a collapsing economy have been outgunned and driven from the cities of northern Mali by the Wahabis, with their shining new pickup trucks, plentiful fuel and seemingly inexhaustible flow of weaponry and supplies.
So where is the funding for the Mali Wahabis coming from? Every Wahabi movement that has been competently investigated has been tied to the Saudis, in most cases to the almost 30,000 strong Saudi royal family and the Mali Wahabis are no exception.
In Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Iraq, Egypt and North Africa and even Syria, Saudi money, billion$ of dollar$ worth, has funded the most reactionary, extreme and violently dangerous centers of terrorism and backwardness.
“Until the very real, and growing threat of Wahabism is contained, all sorts of crimes almost unthinkable in many parts of the world just decades ago will continue to spill the blood of innocents...”
Murdering girls for going to school? Massacring religious pilgrims for the crime of being Shiite “heretics”? Destroying world heritage historical sites whether Buddhist statues in Afghanistan or tombs of the world famous Mansas of Mali, Islamic tombs, but still not “pure” enough for these Wahabis?
And all paid for by one of the most corrupt and reactionary regimes on the planet, who just happen to be a major ally of the western regimes, the Saudi Arabian royal family.
Once again when one digs into the real source of the crimes being committed in Africa one uncovers a foreign source, whether western or a major western ally, the Wahabi regime installed by the British on the Arabian peninsula almost a century ago, the Kingdom of the House of Saud, Saudi Arabia.
Until the very real, and growing threat of Wahabism is contained, all sorts of crimes almost unthinkable in many parts of the world just decades ago will continue to spill the blood of innocents, create chaos and anarchy and leave in its wake backwardness and suffering in the populations inflicted by this most reactionary of ideologies, an ideology that was put in power and supplied with arms and industry by the western powers that so hypocritically claim to oppose all such ignorance and oppression.
Mali, Wahabis and Saudis, follow the money trail and find out who is really to blame for the crimes committed in the name of the long suffering Tuaregs of the Sahel. And no amount of western funded West African troops who may invade and occupy Mali will do anything other than cause more suffering to Mali’s people.
Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com.