Cameron promises another war
Afghanistan and Iraq are big success stories as everyone knows - right? It's therefore understandable that David Cameron is keen on a new adventure. On Sunday he was talking tough about a new crusade, sorry battle, against Islamic extremism in North Africa and the Sahara.
By Pat Harrignton
Cameron is promising years of war in the region and says we will need an 'iron resolve' to win. Our armed forces will be spread thin, the British body count will mount, we will spend huge amounts of money during a recession on another pointless war with no British interest Our "iron resolve" will surely be tested.
Mali, certainly has problems. The northern Tuareg people don't like the southern based government. France assists that government.
The Tuareg (or Kel Tamashek as they call themselves) are indigenous to three African countries: Algeria on the northern side of the Sahara, north-eastern Mali and central and northern Niger. The greatest number of Tuareg, around one million, live in Niger, mostly south and west of Air Massif, with smaller populations in Algeria, Mali and Libya.
The French conglomerate Areva which spearheads the uranium extraction industry in northern Niger has been targeted by Tuareg militants. Areva have monopoly rights to mine uranium there for forty years.
Surely only a conspiracy theorist would suggest that there might be a link between French economic interests and their assault on the Tuareg? It is really about preventing the Tuareg attacking Europe and making us feel safer - isn't it?
Mali, like most of our new 'allies', don't have a good record on rape, torture, that kind of thing. Human Rights watch said recently they were getting reports of civilians being killed and abused by Malian security forces around the central town of Niono.
The International Criminal Court announced on 16 January, 2013 that it was opening an investigation into crimes committed under international law there.
Amnesty International commented:
"Since the beginning of the armed conflict in northern Mali in January 2012, Amnesty International has documented crimes under international law committed by all the parties to the conflict.
"Tuareg and Islamist armed opposition groups have committed human rights abuses, including torture and killings of captured Malian soldiers, rape of women and girls and recruitment of child soldiers. They have also attacked and destroyed cultural and religious sites.
"Malian security forces have also committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the extrajudicial executions of Tuareg civilians, indiscriminate shelling of a Tuareg nomadic camp and killing livestock which the nomadic population rely on for survival.
"Crimes are not confined to the north of the country. Amnesty International has also documented cases of torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and attacks against political leaders, journalists and other people who expressed dissent peacefully in the south, where the capital Bamako lies."
The fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya has contributed to instability in the region by dispersing large numbers of fighters and weapons previously controlled by him.
Our chief cheerleader for war, Mr Hague, admitted that there have been regional 'spin-offs' from the British-backed intervention in Libya, but insisted: “Those could even have been worse had we not intervened.”
On the face of it things are pretty bad and it would seem toppling Muammar hasn't helped but if Mr Hague says things could have been even worse we should believe him - shouldn't we?
You may be wondering at this point, 'all very interesting I'm sure but what the hell has it got to do with the UK?' Well, I'm damned if I could tell you! It is probably why the vast majority of sensible people in this country have little appetite for foreign military adventures which benefit only multi-nationals and the interests of other countries.
The military Top Brass too, strangely, don't seem so keen as Mr Cameron or Mr Hague on us getting involved:
The Independent splashed a 'warning' to Number 10 from them:
"Defence chiefs have warned against Britain becoming enmeshed in the mission against Islamists in Mali, pointing out that any action could be drawn-out and require significantly greater resources than have so far been deployed."
Wise words indeed but is anyone listening?