Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, featured on Press TV World News. Azikiwe is a frequent commentator and writer on African and world affairs., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
Wed Feb 6, 2013 10:4AM GMT
An analyst says France will be defeated in Mali and the French troops will leave the country in ‘humiliation.’
French President Francois Hollande visited the Malian capital, Bamako, on Saturday and told the Malians that the French troops would stay in Mali as long as necessary.
Thousands of people in Mali have been forced to flee their homes amid the French war, which involves some 3,500 troops on the ground supported by warplanes, helicopters and armored vehicles. Analysts believe that Mali’s untapped resources including oil, gold, and the uranium are behind the French military campaign.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, to shed more light on the issue at hand. He is joined by two additional guests on Press TV’s Debate: American philosopher James Fetzer from the Iranian capital city of Tehran and Nigel West, an intelligence historian from London. What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: African forces on the ground, we are seeing, Mr. Azikiwe, the US military airlift, special Canadian forces, of course when it comes to the mining sectors that they have there, Britain, Belgium, Denmark transporting French material, so how extensive is the war in Mali, actually, getting?
Azikiwe: It is very expensive and it is going to get even more expensive if you consider the long-term deployment of the US troops inside of West Africa, even these troops who have been backed up by the United States being transported to Bamako and to other parts of the country by the US war planes, these are going to be very expensive operations from standpoint that the United States is going to be viewed as co-partners, as collaborators with the French neocolonialists, and in this regard it will bring about a tremendous amount of opposition within Mali.
We have already seen opposition surfacing in countries throughout the entire region of West Africa as well as North Africa; among various political parties, coalitions and even governments in the region, coming out suddenly against this French intervention that is being backed up by the United States and other NATO forces.
They are only there from the standpoint of exploiting the natural resources in Mali as well as in neighboring Niger.
The US just signed an agreement for the deployment of additional intelligence gathering drones in the region and this will not stabilize the situation inside the country, it is going to in fact destabilize the situation inside of Mali.
Press TV: Mr. Azikiwe, French President Francois Hollande has said himself that France, and I am quoting him, “Will stay as long as necessary but its purpose is not to stay”; but how do you think is this intervention going to end? Will we see it face the same situation that the US faced in Iraq and Afghanistan as a lot of observers have been suggesting?
Azikiwe: If the history of the French involvement in other geopolitical regions of the world is in the indication, then of course they will leave in humiliation as they did in Haiti during the early part of the 19th century; as they did in Vietnam in 1954 after the defeat in Dien Bien Phu.
Of course in Algeria 1961, 1962, they were defeated by the FLN and more recently in Afghanistan, where last year they pulled out because they were suffering tremendous casualties.
All of these missions over the last 12 years have been launched on the basis that they are fighting terrorism and that they are concerned about the humanitarian conditions that exist in these various geopolitical regions of the world.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The imperialist countries, if you look at their history, if you look at their contemporary policies of intervening in all of these different countries, it has not been based on humanitarian concerns, it is always based upon the economic interests of these various European states.
Press TV: Well the question now would be whether these French-led forces, the amount of support that they are getting… are going to be able to counter what is being called the terrorism threat in Mali? Because we are hearing a lot of reports on the ground saying that the militants are gaining some ground as well as the French, that it is very hard to locate where the militants are, it is very hard to tackle these fighters because of the style of their attacks.
So do you think that France is going to be able to easily counter these threats? Or like the situation, for instance, that we are seeing in Afghanistan right now, the Taliban is still there, the militants are still there, even if combat troops are going out of Afghanistan, the same threat that was there before their invasion is still there?
Azikiwe: Well they can only do more harm than anything else. If you look at the government in Mali, it is not a legitimate regime. The captain who overthrew the elected government in Mali was trained here in the United States by the Pentagon.
It did not enhance the national security capability of Mali. It worsened it and it created this situation that actually provides a pretext for the intervention of France and the United States and Britain and these other imperialist countries.
This is why I totally disagree with this notion of a failed state. This is the same model that has been used in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Iraq, in Libya. It is the same playbook.
They do not even take the time to change the story in regard to providing rationales for these military interventions.
They have been totally disastrous not only for the people involved on the ground in these various countries, but also for people inside of these industrialized imperialist states.
France right now has an unemployment rate of nearly eleven percent. There are people even in Hollande’s government - social imperialist government, not a real socialist government - that say the French economy is essentially bankrupt.
We see the same situation here in the United States. They cannot even agree on a national budget within the Congress here in the United States.
You have millions of people being thrown out of their homes. You have 35 to 40 million people who are unemployed here in the United States.
On what basis can they justify intervening in countries in Africa to supposedly bring back civilization? It is absolutely ridiculous.
Press TV: Mr. Azikiwe one question that is being raised as you did mention it earlier in your comments, is the US’ role in this, as well, a lot of people have been raising concerns about the use of drones now in the African region; the US saying that it is trying to create a drone base in the Africa region and that, basically, drone system being the system required, they say, to fight these kinds of militants.
So do you think that these concerns are legitimate?
Azikiwe: They are very legitimate because the drones kill more innocent people than they [kill] people who were supposedly targeted by the White House.
There is no judge and jury. There is no due process. All you have is a list that is drawn up at the White House and these lists are utilized to carry out these drone attacks and the US, of course, has to be accountable for these mass killings that are going on right now, that are doing nothing except enraging more people around the world against the United States’ interests.