‘Al-Qaeda threat used by NATO as smoke screen for re-colonization of Northern Africa’
Several western countries have already offered France, which is to boost its force to 2,500 soldiers next week, aid in Mali.
The UK is providing logistical air assistance, while the United States is providing surveillance and other intelligence help.
Washington also announced it will supply transport planes for French forces and consider sending refueling tankers for French warplanes.
Canada has joined with the allies to support the on-going military intervention by dispatching a heavy-lift military transport. The country is also making an indirect contribution by training counter-terrorism operatives in neighboring Niger.
Italy is ready to offer logistical support for air operations, but it will not be joining French troops on the ground. The country’s defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola told the Senate on Wednesday that Italy’s offer was confined to air operations only.
Journalist Neil Clark told RT he believed economic reasons were behind every single western military adventure of the last 30 years – and Mali was no different.
RT: The UK is helping this French campaign in Mali with supplies and several British hostages have now been killed in Algeria. How concerned do you think the British public and politicians are about getting involved?
Neil Clark: I think the public is very concerned, because what’s happened here is David Cameron, who spent most of last year cheering on Islamist rebels in Syria, has now taken the line that Islamist rebels in Mali are the biggest danger to the world and we must intervene, Britain must help France regardless of the consequences for Britain. And I think it’s a very misguided policy. Unfortunately the political elite in Britain seem to be all behind his policy, which is very disturbing, but I think the public is very concerned about what’s going on.
RT: What's in this for the UK – what's London looking to gain from supporting France?
NC: It’s very interesting, because if we think back to 2011, it was David Cameron and William Hague people like this, who were the loudest and most aggressive cheerleaders for the deposing of Colonel Gaddafi. And now the very same people – Cameron and Hague are the ones saying we’ve got to get involved in Mali operation to put down Al-Qaeda groups there. And so there’s a real inconsistency here, real hypocrisy. Why is fighting Al-Qaeda in Africa the biggest task? Why do we play such an active role in toppling leaders? And what’s in it for Britain? I think that what’s happening is that this Al-Qaeda threat is being used as a smoke screen for the re-colonization of Northern Africa by NATO forces, by France, Britain and the US.
RT: Do you think that’s why we they are ignoring of the rise of Al-Qaeda in Syria?
NC: Absolutely! Because, of course, one of the biggest myths in international relations is that western powers are implacably opposed Al-Qaeda for the last 20-30 years. They are not. They will use the Al-Qaeda threat in some circumstances to invade certain countries like Afghanistan. But elsewhere they would actually back Al-Qaeda militants to topple secular regimes, like in Syria and Libya. It’s going to a Frankenshtein’s monster, and of course it all dates back to Afghanistan in the 1980s. And Al-Qaeda and radical Islamic groups were used by the West to help topple the Red Army. And that’s all part of the policy.
RT: How far could the British involvement in North Africa potentially go – and what further reaction could there be?
NC: I think we are going to be dragged more and more into it, because last week David Cameron was telling us that we just can’t allow Islamists to take power in Mali so he can't just back down a few days later and say that it doesn’t really matter, if the Islamists take power in Mali. So, he has talked himself into a corner on this one by bigging up the situation. So, I very much fear, I mean the neo cons haven’t got their war against Syria, so, now it seems we’ve all got to support this intervention against Mali.
RT: Africa has plenty of untapped natural resources. Which countries appear most interested in securing and possibly expanding their interests there? And how could those interests clash?
NC: Very possibly, because I think obviously France from Mr. Hollande’s point of view – their economy is in a very bad state in France – and I think that he is hoping that a successful intervention in Mali would boost his popularity ratings back home. It's already been well documented about the uranium issue and how France needs uranium there. And Mali is a big producer of uranium. There are resources there. So, I think France – this is very clear – has economic reasons. And I think economic reasons are behind every single western intervention of the last 30 years. If we look back at attacks on Yugoslavia, the attacks on Syria, the Libyan war – all these were dressed up as humanitarian interventions. But they were not. They are economic interventions. And the west wants resources, the west wants to get control of resources in this region. And I think NATO is going to relocate in North Africa. I think that’s clearly what this is all about. The Al-Qaeda threat is being bigged up in order for when NATO leaves Afghanistan, it will relocate to North Africa.