And, as a matter of fact, it was neither AQIM nor the Tuaregs, but the US trained military officers of the Malian army, who actually overthrew the Malian government because of the latter’s inability to address the Tuareg problem, leading to eventual instability and intervention of the West. The so-called defection of the Malian army can also be explained with reference to the US led intervention in Libya when we take into the fact that Tuaregs—who traditionally hailed from northern Mali—made up a large portion of his army, and when Gaddafi was ejected from power, they returned to their homeland and joined the local armed resistance. Thus intervention in Libya precipitated the Malian crisis, the latter being the consequence of the former as acknowledged by the United Kingdom’s current Foreign Secretary William Hague himself.
These pertinent facts highlight that the basic and immediate reason for the Western intervention in Mail is not “terrorism”, but the overthrow of a ‘US friendly’ regime and the possible danger of losing access to the Malian and the adjacent states’ reservoirs of natural resources. In other words, the west is once again at war, not with terrorists, but with the very forces that it trained, funded and armed to achieve its objectives.
The War is thus not merely about fighting terrorism out (Western perspective), or fighting the Western imperialists out (insurgents’ perceptive), it is equally about who controls the resources of Mali and Mali itself. There is no real “terrorism” as defined by the West. The current insurgency is a combination of Tuaregs, the Malian army’s defected groups, and the US trained and armed resistant groups which previously operated in Libya under the US’ ‘auspices’.
Although the West apparently seems to have succeeded in containing the rapid advances of the insurgents, Mali is still far from stable, and the Malian military is still not in any position to check the return of the “Jihadists,” who are now being reported to have regrouped in Libya, Nigeria, and Algeria, clearly a sign of regional instability and unrest providing the West with an ‘excuse’ for stationing its forces and establishing its air bases in Mali and in the region.
The conflict has died out temporarily only to re-surface again. It is not over, and it cannot be eradicated until its root causes are addressed. As long as the West continues to exploit resources of these states, and as long as internal problems like poverty, corruption, and discrimination against a community persist, unrest will continue to prevail and danger of war would continue to loom large over Mali and the Sahara-Sahel region, its grave consequences being unheeded by the West.
UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming has already warned that “in the near future there could be up to 300,000 people additionally displaced inside Mali, and over 400,000 additionally displaced in the neighbouring countries.” There is no doubt that as a consequence of such flagrant oppression, resulting human miseries, and the reported atrocities of the French military and their protégée the US-trained Malian Army troops, the violent reaction of the oppressed will spread far and wide.
Unfortunately, however, the “liberal” states of the West are not paying heed to this extremely dangerous ‘mass human hatred’ which is emerging as a by-product of their military interventions, which they would later on again term as “terrorism” and “fundamentalism”—hence, more conflict and more human misery.