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Meeting and Greeting the Crusaders in Africa

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    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Europeans are pouring into northwest Africa in such volume, the huge U.S. airlift capacity may soon be necessary to keep the “Crusaders” supplied. African militaries are being assembled to do the white man’s bidding. The U.S. hopes to establish a Somalia-like operation on the near side of Africa – with Americans in overall charge.

     

    Meeting and Greeting the Crusaders in Africa

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    African officials were handing out orders and directives to other Africans, as if they were actually in charge of something.”

    These days the so-called scramble for Africa runs through Mali, and in two directions. As the British, the Italians, the Germans, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Belgians and the Danish follow the French into northwest Africa, the Africans rush up to meet them, as if these white people were old friends coming to visit, again. Cargo planes ferry French fighters and equipment into the Mali desert, where they search for jihadists – Muslim fighters that are politically indistinguishable from the ones the Europeans and the Americans backed in Libya, and are now arming, in Syria.

    If the Mali operation takes much longer – which it certainly will – the United States will assume much of the airlift duties, since no other nation in the world has the capacity to resupply a long war on the African continent. Cracking northern Africa wide open is a job for a superpower – which is fine with the Americans. Don Yamamoto, the deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, was hanging around the African Union meeting in Ethiopia, where African officials were handing out orders and directives to other Africans, as if they were actually in charge of something. Yamamoto predicted that “it could take several years” for the Mali mission to completed. “This is only the first phase,” he said. So, what is that mission? Will it take the combined forces of the United States, France, much of the rest of NATO, and of soldiers from all over Africa to defeat, at most, a few thousand jihadists in a treeless desert? Do the Europeans and the Americans really have to stay so long?

    Oh yes, said deputy secretary Yamamoto. He claims, “A lot of the rebel groups that are now fighting in the region were under Gaddafi’s troops.” Ah, so that’s how the U.S. will tell the story.

    The U.S. has much bigger plans for Africa.”

    It’s true that many Tuareg nationalists seeking independence for their homeland in northern Mali worked with Gaddafi’s security forces, and emerged from Libya heavily armed. But, no sooner had the secular Tuareg rebellion begun than it was overwhelmed by Muslim fundamentalists – jihadists who were Gaddafi’s sworn enemies. The jihadists, many of them foreigners, could be run out of the cities of Mali and militarily contained with little effort. But, the Tuaregs live there, and always have. It is, therefore, necessary for the United States to claim that the entire Tuareg people – several million of them – are infested with jihadism, and that this will require a long-term Euro-American presence in Mali and the region.

    The French are leading the charge into the desert in Mali, but the U.S. has much bigger plans for Africa. Deputy secretary Yamamoto told reporters that the U.S. would like to see the Mali operation evolve into an African-led affair, like the African Union mission in Somalia. However, although 17,000 Africans do the fighting in Somali, the operation is actually run by the U.S. military and the CIA, and paid for largely by the Americans.

    AFRICOM is now assisting six of Mali’s regional neighbors – Niger, Chad, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Togo – with their transport and equipment needs for the fighting ahead. Those countries militaries will always want American guns and financing – which means AFRICOM will never leave. At least, that’s the plan.

    For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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    "Is Qatar fuelling the crisis in north Mali?"

    21/01/2013

    http://www.france24.com/en/20130121-qatar-mali-france-ansar-dine-mnla-al...

    Oil-rich gulf state Qatar has a vested interest in the outcome of the north Mali crisis, according to various reports that have been picked up by French MPs, amid suspicion that Doha may be siding with the rebels to extend its regional influence.

    Since Islamist groups exploited a military coup in the Malian capital of Bamako in early 2012 to take control of the entire north of the country, accusations of Qatari involvement in a crisis that has seen France deploy troops have been growing.

    Last week two French politicians explicitly accused Qatar of giving material support to separatists and Islamists in north Mali, adding fuel to speculation that the Emirate is playing a behind-the-scenes role in spreading Islamic fundamentalism in Africa.

    French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Communist Party Senator Michelle Demessine both said that Qatar had questions to answer.

    “If Qatar is objecting to France’s engagement in Mali it’s because intervention risks destroying Doha’s most fundamentalist allies,” Le Pen said in a statement on her party website, in response to a call by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani for dialogue with the Islamists.

    ‘Cash from Doha’

    The first accusations of Qatari involvement with Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups came in a June 2012 article in respected French weekly the Canard Enchainé.

    In a piece title “Our friend Qatar is financing Mali’s Islamists”, the newspaper alleged that the oil-rich Gulf state was financing the separatists.

    It quoted an unnamed source in French military intelligence saying: “The MNLA [secular Tuareg separatists], al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine and MUJAO [movement for unity and Jihad in West Africa] have all received cash from Doha.”

    A month later Sadou Diallo, the mayor of the north Malian city of Gao [which had fallen to the Islamists] told RTL radio: “The French government knows perfectly well who is supporting these terrorists. Qatar, for example, continues to send so-called aid and food every day to the airports of Gao and Timbuktu.”

    "The presence of Qatari NGOs in north Mali is no secret. Last summer, in the wake of the separatist takeover, the Qatari Red Crescent was the only humanitarian organisation granted access to the vast territory.

    One member of the Qatari humanitarian team told AFP at the end of June that they had simply “come to Gao to evaluate the humanitarian needs of the region in terms of water and electricity access.”

    Deeply entrenched

    Regional geopolitical expert Mehdi Lazar, who specialises on Qatar, wrote in French weekly news magazine L’Express in December that Doha’s relationship with predominantly Muslim north Mali was deeply entrenched.

    “Qatar has an established a network of institutions it funds in Mali, including madrassas, schools and charities that it has been funding from the 1980s,” he wrote, adding that Qatar would be expecting a return on this investment.

    “Mali has huge oil and gas potential and it needs help developing its infrastructure,” he said. “Qatar is well placed to help, and could also, on the back of good relations with an Islamist-ruled north Mali, exploit rich gold and uranium deposits in the country.”

    Qatar’s foreign policy is also motivated by religion, wrote Lazar, and success in Mali would “greatly increase the Emirate’s influence in West Africa and the Sahel region”.

    “If the Qatari influence in the current situation in Mali turns out to be real, it must be seen in the context of two branches of a global competition,” he wrote. “Firstly, competition with Saudi Arabia to be the centre of Sunni Islam; secondly, in terms of competition between the Sunni and Shiite branches of the Muslim faith.

    “It would be an extension of the effort Qatar is already making in Egypt, Libya and in Tunisia.”

    Lazar does not believe, however, that Qatar will get directly involved in the conflict unfolding in Mali, however, and that rather than getting its hands dirty, Doha will try to position itself as mediator in future negotiations between the Malian government, the various rebel groups in the north of the country, Algeria and France.

    After reading this France24 article...

    ... It reminded me of an Economist magazine article I read. The picture attached to the article shows young men cheering on the Captain Sunoco coup in Mali. One of the young men is wearing a Qatar Foundation soccer shirt:

    http://www.economist.com/node/21551539

    Was the Economist trying to tell us something?

    The Qataris, Saudis & other GGC Gulf Oil Monarchs

    Had their hand in the Libyan debacle, are now invovled in the Syrian debacle, & now are implicated in Mali. But lets not forget who the Qataris, Saudis & Kuwaitis are- they're in cahoots w the US. 

    The Coming Imperial Implosion in the Islamic World?

    What those who want to kill us- fear most, is a reunification of Arab and black muslims (see map):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clash_of_Civilizations

    That would push -those who want to kill us- back into collapsing Europe, and back into their second dark age. The Crusaders know the historical precedent of this, so they feel compelled to invade, sack, and loot. In Africa, they are afraid of China and radical Islam.

    Mali's Islamic Population Growth:

    "Mali's 2.5 Percent Problem"

    The real reason the Sahel is awash with terrorists? Rapid population growth.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/01/28/mali_s_population_growt...

    As they debate how to tackle the threat of insurgency and unrest in Africa, Western leaders could do worse than to consider one of the most important, yet curiously underplayed, aspects of that troubled region -- the dangers of rapid, unchecked population growth.

    It is no coincidence that in recent decades Mali's population has been growing at an unsustainable annual rate of around 3 percent. In other words, the average Malian woman has six children, while the country's population has tripled over the past 50 years and, according to the latest U.N. estimates, is set to triple again over the next half century.

    Such a drastic rate of population growth rate has profound implications. In particular it means that, in an undeveloped and largely barren land, too many people are competing for too few local resources and opportunities. Young men have limited hopes of finding employment or even sustenance and are therefore deeply susceptible to the temptation of armed criminality and insurgency, and to the lure of radical preachers who seem to offer them both a sense of purpose and scapegoats who they can blame for their woes.

    [End Quote]

    Hmmmmmmm This must be the reason why Captain Sunoco blamed former Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure for the upsurge in Islamism in Mali

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    I really wish these people who comment would stop writing long article length comments (sometimes they are longer than article itself!). It says to COMMENT, not piggy-back on the success of BAR by fullfilling your un-met dreams of being a journalist. If you have a long article to write, just create your own blog and direct people there via a link. I (and I am sure most people) don't read overly long comments anyway, so you are just wasting space.

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