Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Mali: Risks of French Intervention Say Mélenchon and French Communists.

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French Mali Intervention Criticised by Left.

The French military intervention in Mali has been questioned by a number of figures on the French left, to begin with by the leader of the Front de Gauche, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

These are some reports.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon a critiqué la position du président. “L’intérêt d’une intervention militaire extérieure pour régler le problème posé au nord du Mali est discutable. En décider alors que les intérêts fondamentaux de la France ne sont pas en cause, selon le chef de l’Etat lui-même, et alors que les troupes africaines sont engagées, est discutable”, écrit le leader du Front de gauche dans un communiqué. Il regrette que le Parlement et le gouvernement n’aient pas été consultés.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon has criticised the President’s position, “The advantages to be gained from an external military intervention to resolve the problems that have developed  in the North of Mali are questionable. To decide the fundamental interests of France, according to the head of state himself, and those of the African troops now committed, on something which does not touch fundamental French stakes, opens up a debate.” the leader of the Front de gauche has written in a communiqué. He also regrets that neither Parliament nor the Government have been consulted.”

Communiqué here.

L’Humanité notes the danger that the Islamists represent. It carries this statement by the  Parti Communiste Français (PCF)

Le PCF partage l’inquiétude des maliens devant l’offensive armée des groupes djihadistes vers le sud de leur pays. Ces groupes islamistes radicaux, avec leurs pratiques violentes, ont montré le danger qu’ils représentent pour la dignité humaine, pour les libertés, la justice et la stabilité du Mali et de toute la région.

The(PCF) shares the fears of Malians confronted with the armed offensive of the Jihadists  towards the south of their country. These radical Islamist groups, have shown by their violence, the danger that they represent for human dignity, for freedom, for justice and for the stability of Mali and all the region.

The PCF continues,

Le PCF rappelle que la réponse à la demande d’aide du Président du Mali aurait du s’inscrire dans le cadre d’une mission de l’ONU et de l’Union africaine, réalisée sous drapeau de l’ONU, par des forces maliennes et africaines, dans le strict respect de la Charte des Nations-Unies, dans les limites imposées par l’exigence de la souveraineté malienne. La France, ancienne puissance coloniale, ne peut apparaître comme voulant poursuivre les pratiques dominatrices de la “françafrique’.

The PCF reiterates that the response to the request for help from the President of Mail should have been within the structure of a UN and African Union mission, under the UN flag, by Malian and African forces, within the structures firmly set out the UN Charter, within the limits imposed by the demands of Malian sovereignty. France, the former colonial power, should not be seen to be acting within the neo-colonial practices of ‘Franco-Africa’ (“françafrique’, France’s sphere of influence)

They demand a serious search for a political solution to the problems of Mali and that the President fortwith opens a serious debate on this in the French Parliament, (‘engagée sans débat préalable au Parlement.’)

It is worth noting this report from Al-Jazeera,

The operation by French forces to stop a rebel advance towards the capital has won their hearts. Before the French intervened residents of Bamako were living in fear of the rebels overrunning their country’s weak army and reaching the capital in a short time.

“I salute the French for coming to our aid,” Mariam Coulibally, said balancing a heavy basket of grocery on her head. “God knows where we would have been if they had not arrived in time,” she added.

On one of Bamako’s main streets the French and Malian flags hang side by side. Traders are also doing a brisk business selling the French flag to motorists.

And there has been a huge response to a request from Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traore and religious leaders for people to support the country’s weak forces whichever way they can. At a medical facility in one Bamako’s suburbs people have gathered to donate blood.

Thirty-year old Fatoumatta Diallou told me “we are ready to respond to any request from our government. If it calls us to fight we will respond. We are ready to die.”

Others donated money and food to the military.

More in Al-Jazeera site.


Written by Andrew Coates

January 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm

One Response

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  1. The quote from Mélenchon you provide offers an appalling reason for opposing the intervention and I sincerely hope it doesn’t reflect his true position. Rejecting intervention of the grounds that it doesn’t sufficiently affect French interests is nationalistic isolationism which is beneath the French Left who I have come to respect as universalists and champions of international solidarity.

    In this regard the quote from the PCF is an improvement, but it falls short of what is desirable in a socialist response and lapses bourgeois legalism, criticising the French Government for not acting multilaterally and for taking the lead in a former colony instead of leaving the Africans to it.

    If this intervention is to be condemned as imperialist interference it should be done so whether it is being done by African governments or the French, whether by multilateral coalition under the UN flag or by Hollande alone going in Rambo style. Equally if this is to be applauded as an act of humanitarianism or international solidarity against Islamism, it should be the case regardless of who is doing so.


    January 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm

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