Old Wine in New Bottles? France’s Military Intervention in Mali 2013-03-20 0:00
By Benedikt Erforth and George Deffner | allAfrica
The discourse surrounding France’s interventions in Africa has changed, but have the underlying motivations?
France is at it again.
Less than two years after Franco-British-led air strikes helped topple Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya in March 2011, and French troops made the arrest of the former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo possible in April 2011, the French army is once again intervening in Africa; this time, according to the official discourse, to fight terrorist and criminal groups in Mali who pose a menace to the integrity of a democratic country, the lives of about 5,000 French expatriates, and the security of both Africa and Europe.
France has a long history of military interventions in sub-Saharan Africa, which traditionally have served the safeguarding or installation of governments friendly to France, the protection of French economic interests, or boosted France’s role in the world.
In the period from 1960 to 2005, there have reportedly been 46 French military operations in Francophone Africa.
France, thanks heavily to Africa, has been able to maintain its status as an important player on the international scene. And although the old neo-colonial Françafrique system may be dead or dying, French foreign policy remains very much alive when it comes to Africa.
For the good of the world?
While there are strong elements of continuity regarding French military interventions in Africa, the justifications for entering into combat in the region have radically changed.
Since the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the questionable role France played throughout the crisis, France’s perception of itself as the natural gendarme d’Afrique has become increasingly unpopular, and the official discourse has been strenuously trying to avoid any accusations that depict France as a neo-colonial power.
Being aware of the haunting errors of the past, French president François Hollande has made it clear that France has no other interests in Mali than rescuing a friendly state and no other objective than fighting terrorism, though the vicinity of Niger, the producer of a significant portion of the uranium used in France’s power plants, might still raise some eyebrows.
Accordingly, France’s official communication surrounding the military intervention in Mali has been following an extremely outward-oriented strategy aimed towards portraying France as a faithful servant to the international community.
This ’good global citizen’ dimension is underlined with references to France’s ongoing and fierce commitment to the fight against terrorism since the tragic attacks of 9/11.
The FDA Admits That Prior to 2011 Over 70% of U.S. Chickens Contained Cancer-Causing Arsenic 2015-03-04 20:32
Prior to 2011, the cancer-causing toxic chemical Roxarsone, which in high doses could kill you, was being added to chicken feed on purpose, giving store-bought chicken the illusion of healthy coloring and plump appearance. Shockingly, this was the case with more than 70 percent of all U.S. chickens! A recent article was published stating that this continued to be the ...
The Truth About Starbucks New Coconut Milk: It Isn’t Really Coconut Milk 2015-03-03 22:14
In an attempt to appeal to the non-dairy crowd, Starbucks is bringing “coconut milk” to the masses. After a successful trial run in select cities at the behest of their customers, Starbucks has decided to push forward with their dairy alternative.
Providing a non-dairy alternative to dairy and soy is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, ...
Feinstein: Netanyahu does not speak for all Jews 2015-03-03 21:52
US Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an “arrogant” man who does not speak for all Jews.
The Jewish lawmaker made the remarks in an interview with CNN on Sunday ahead of Netanyahu's controversial visit to the United States.
The Israeli premier arrived in Washington, DC, on Sunday night ...
Netanyahu to US: Don’t negotiate ‘bad deal’ with Iran 2015-03-03 21:12
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the United States not to negotiate “a very bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
Speaking at a joint session of the US Congress in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Netanyahu said, “We’ve been told for over a year that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a ...