[News] Zero Dark Mali

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 25 12:20:15 EST 2013

*Zero Dark Mali
*By Pepe Escobar


Goooooooood morning, Vietnam! No, sorry, that was another quagmire.

The soundtrack then was Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Motown and Stax. 
Now it's Goooooooooood morning, Mali! Yet the soundtrack can't be 
something as transcendental as Rokia Traore's Dounia 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DydY8bHTyg>, or as delightfully 
psychedelic as Amadou and Mariam's Dimanche a Bamako 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXJYlqUvZfA>. It's way more menacing. 
Something like - he's inescapable - Hendrix in Machine Gun 

Timing - as in the expansion of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) - is 
everything. Carefully choreographed Libyan blowback in the Sahel could 
not be a better replacement for NATO raising a monster white flag in 
Afghanistan. There's no Goooooood morning, Kabul! anymore; there's just 
the sorry countdown to see the last NATO helicopter leaving Bagram - 
Saigon 1975-style.

The Economist - the voice of the City of London - is even promoting 
"Afrighanistan". There are nuances, of course. NATO had its ass kicked 
in Afghanistan by all sorts of Pashtun factions bundled up as "Taliban". 
But NATO "won" in Libya. With a certainly foreseen spin-off; the 
Islamist brigade which attacked the In Amenas gas field complex in the 
Algerian desert was using NATO-facilitated Kalashnikov AK-104s, F5 
rockets, 60 mm gun-mortars and, in a nifty NATOGCC fashion touch, the 
"chocolate chip" camouflage Qatar handed out to the NATO rebels in Libya 
(yellow flak jackets with brown patches). What next, the cover of Uomo 

*I'm your bogeyman, turn me on*
Inevitably, that most convenient of bogeymen - al-Qaeda - is once again 
back in fashion, the whole nebula of Salafi-jihadi groups and sub-groups 
promoted by the French-Anglo-American triad as the root of all evil in 
Northern Africa (but not in Libya, where they were exalted as "freedom 

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, one of the founding members of al-Qaeda in the 
Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is for all practical purposes an easily 
digestible Osama bin Laden remix. Belmokhtar was a classic "Arab Afghan" 
- part of that multinational legion trained by the ISI/CIA axis to fight 
the Soviets in 1980s Afghanistan. When he was back in Algeria in 1993 he 
joined the local jihad, as part of the Salafi Group for Preaching and 
Combat (GSPC).

AQIM since 2007 was very close to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group 
(LIFG), whose fighters were also trained in Afghanistan by ISI/CIA. And 
all the time LIFG was always conveniently manipulated by the CIA and MI6 
against Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

After the targeted assassination of Gaddafi, AQIM was duly weaponized by 
LIFG, and even presented with scores of jihadis. Thus, unsurprisingly, 
there were plenty of LIFG fighters involved in the In Amenas raid. On 
top of it AQIM is also very close to the al-Nusra Front in Syria, which 
Washington branded as a terrorist organization (but not the eternally 
bickering "coalition" which wants to topple Bashar al-Assad).

The key point is that Qatar is financing all these people - AQIM, the 
splinter MUJAO, Belmokhtar's brigades and the Salafist Ansar Ed-Dine, a 
bunch of Wahhabi takfiris who have absolutely nothing to do with 
tolerant Mali culture.

What does stand out is the absolutely perfect pretext for NATO to get 
down to the groove in Northern Africa after its humiliating Afghan 
defeat. But wait; AFRICOM is already there! Still, Algeria - a secular 
Arab republic who historically has been pro-Cuban and pro-Soviet Union - 
better beware, and better get its US$50 billion in reserves out of 
Western banks as soon as possible. Sooner or later, the AFRICOM/NATO 
hydra is coming to get you.

*Islamo-gangsterism, anyone?*
For now we have the spectacle of Paris involved in the "cleansing" of 
Mali from not only weaponized Islamists - extraneous to Mali culture - 
but also indigenous, weaponized Tuaregs with legitimate grievances. The 
master plan is to support an absolutely corrupt regime in Bamako, led by 
a military coup plotter, the Fort Benning-trained Captain Amadou Sanogo.

This is the meat of the matter of the new /mission civilisatrice/, 
protected by a convenient, UN-enabled smokescreen; a batch of 
impoverished African countries who will foot most of the bill - and come 
up with the 5,800 soldiers for another one of those impossibly 
ridiculous UN acronyms, AFISMA (African-led International Support 
Mission in Mali). Who pays what is still a mess; there will be a meeting 
next Tuesday in Ethiopia where they will all be haggling with the 
proverbial, reluctant "international donors".

Even in France nobody knows who is fighting who and what are these 
people, really. Check out the hilarious semantic swamp here 
(in French). Le Monde believes it has solved the riddle; Paris is 
fighting "Islamo-gangsterism".

In this Folies de Pigalle in the desert, Washington will be "leading 
from behind." Wise move; shadow wars bypass quagmires. It's the French - 
with typical Gallic grandeur - who will remain infatuated with the 
illusion of soon ruling the Mali desert. In fact they won't even rule 
algae in the Niger river, because this will be a protracted nomad war. 
The prospect of a succession of sandy Dien Bien Phus looms.

And the minute most of Mali's impoverished population - for the moment 
in favor of getting rid of AQIM, MUJAO, Belmokhtar's gang and Ansar 
ed-Dine - feels the slightest whiff of neocolonial occupation, the 
French are on their way to meet the American fate in both Iraq and 

It's enlightening to regard all this under the perspective of President 
Obama 2.0 administration's foreign policy, as (vaguely) outlined in his 
inauguration. Obama promised to end US wars (shadow wars are much more 
cost-efficient). He promised multilateral cooperation with allies (while 
Washington effectively calls the shots), negotiation (as in our way or 
the highway) and no new war in the Middle East.

To take the president at his word, this translates into no US war 
against Syria (just the shadow variety); no Bomb, Bomb Iran (just 
murderous sanctions); and France gets the Mali prize. Or will it? Zero 
Dark pulp fiction starts now.

/*Pepe Escobar* is the author of/ Globalistan: How the Globalized World 
is Dissolving into Liquid War 
/(Nimble Books, 2008). He may be reached at/ pepeasia at yahoo.com.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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