Sunday, 20 January 2013

G8 to front plutofascist war on North Africa

ENDLESS war and plutofascist imperialism will be the hallmark of the UK's presidency of the G8, says prime minister David Cameron.

Ten years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, neoliberal powers are launching a new phase of their phoney "War on Terror", now on the south side of the Mediterranean.

The Daily Telegraph reports that speaking at Chequers, Mr Cameron claimed there was a growing "terrorist threat" in North Africa and talked up the need for a "prolonged struggle" to counter it.

He said: “It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months, and it requires a response that is patient, that is painstaking, that is tough but also intelligent, but above all has an absolutely iron resolve; and that is what we will deliver over these coming years.

“It will also require countries to work together, and I will use our chairmanship of the G8 this year to make sure this issue is right at the top of the agenda where it belongs.”

The Western powers are using the usual bogeyman of "al Qaeda" as the excuse for a military assault on the territory of Azawad, which declared its independence from Mali last year.

But, beyond the shrill warmongering of the corporate media, informed voices are exposing the other agendas that, inevitably, lie behind the military involvement.

Stéphane Lhomme, director of  l'Observatoire du nucléaire, points out that the real reason for the French intervention is to secure the supply of uranium to the country's powerful nuclear industry - the mineral is sourced from mines in the north of Niger, a desert area separated from Mali only by a hypothetical line on the map.

And in a letter published in the Evening Standard on January 17, Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed responded to Nabila Ramdani's endorsement of France's Mali intervention, supposedly "aimed at ridding Mali of particularly sinister insurgents," saying  it overlooks key factors which have now made themselves manifest in the hostage seizures in Algeria.

"Firstly, 'al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb' (AQIM) was, according to experts like Professor Jeremy Keenan from SOAS - the most cited academic in the world on North Africa - virtually manufactured in the region by Algerian intelligence services with clandestine US support.

"This short-sighted policy originated with the Algerian military junta's attempts to fabricate a justification for exterminating members of the peaceful Islamic Salvation Front after it won democratic elections decades ago. The policy was reinforced by NATO's intervention in Libya, shoring up Islamist militias with AQIM affiliations across the region.

"Secondly, Ramdani naively ignores NATO's strategic interests in North Africa, described in 2007 by State Department adviser J. Peter Pham as "protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources... a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.”

"Mali is believed to have significant oil and gas potential.

"A confidential US embassy cable (8 May 2006) obtained by Wikileaks observes that a "significant impediment" to "extracting and transporting oil" in Mali is "regional political instability and terrorist activities."

"With reports of extensive civilian casualties due to French airstrikes, it is far from clear that they will be  beneficial for Mali, even if Ramdani concedes they may be troublesome for France. Such military action will only lend legitimacy to the most virulent AQIM components of the insurgency.

"A better approach would be to cut off AQIM at source - by reigning in Algerian military intelligence. But perhaps that's not the point."

Cameron's declaration of the G8's key role in the neoliberals' war on North African war will intensify protests against the June summit currently being planned in the UK by Stop G8.