As the West faces Islamic radicalism in Mali and Algeria, David Watts considers the real agenda on both sides and stresses the importance of keeping a sense of perspective.
The ‘War on Terror’ (WOT) comes to Africa or is it more to do with the competition with China for the resources of the continent?
Either way, as in Libya, it was the French who were the first out of the traps with their air attacks on jihadist rebels threatening the government of Mali, a former French colony.
In reality this is not the first time that the WOT has come to the continent; there were strong hints of it at the end of the war on Muammar Gaddafi, and indeed the weaponry and training showered on the rebels by the West, and their Gulf monarchist allies, is now fuelling the latest iteration of the conflict. Many of the fighters are graduates of the Libyan campaign just as others went on to the conflict in Syria.
The apparently sudden, unilateral decision to intervene by François Hollande, the new French president, runs counter to his declared policies of disengagement on the international front as evidenced by his, also unilateral, decision to pull French troops back early from Afghanistan.
More at here: http://asianaffairs.in/february2013/war-terror.html
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