— The Erimtan Angle —

Archive for the ‘NPR’ Category

Africa Update: Mali, Algeria & Libya or Al Qaeda All Around

‘The hostage crisis in Algeria appears to be over. Algeria’s special forces stormed the gas plant in the middle of the Sahara desert, to end the four day standoff. Local media say seven hostages and 11 gunmen were killed in the latest operation. Britain’s defense minister says he’s appalled at the loss of life. Al Jazeera‘s Paul Brennan has this report on how this hostage crisis unfolded. (19 Jan 2013)’.

‘The Algerian army raided the remote gas plant where Al Qaeda-backed militants had taken hostages. (20 Jan 2013)’.

The mere phrase “Al Qaeda-backed” nowadays seems sufficient to inspire global interest and generate media attention. On this blog I posted the following in 2011: “As I wrote some time ago in Today’s Zaman: ‘In the absence of a Soviet threat, the Obama administration has now declared al-Qaeda and its, by now more than legendary and . . . defunct, leader bin Laden to be the US’s main military adversary. While making sure not to declare an outright crusade against Islam and Muslims worldwide, President Obama continues Cold War policies that ensure that the “military-industrial complex,” to use President Eisenhower’s famous 1961 phrase, is kept busy, happy and well fed. Quite some time ago, the independent journalist Pepe Escobar declared that “Osama bin Laden may be dead or not. Al-Qaeda remains a catch-all ghost entity.” In other words, his contention is that the name al-Qaeda is used by the US to suggest the presence of a threat that is then employed to justify military intervention. The flipside of that stance is now that terrorists and like-minded individuals opposing US dominance and interventionism equally cite the name al-Qaeda to gain credibility, notoriety and media exposure’”.[1]  As a result, the fact that mainstream broadcasters like the BBC and Al Jazeera freely use the phrase in their reporting should not detract from the fact that the brand Al Qaeda is nothing but a fabricated fiction, as convincingly argued for by Adam Curtis’ documentary The Power of Nightmares (2004).[2]

What is happening in Mali, which just happens to be south of Libya where Colonel Gadhafi’s regime was so unceremoniously done away with by an “Assisted Rebellion”[3] recently???  Then Sarko was one of the prime-movers of the alliance backing the “Assisted Rebellion” and for good reason, as he was keen to secure access to Libyan oil and gas. At the moment, President Hollande seems to be at pains to secure his predecessor’s gains in the Maghreb, while equally also attempting to safeguard French access to Mali’s uranium reserves, one could argue.

Whereas the Al Qaeda is equally being used by both sides in the conflict today: ‘Back in the days prior to 9/11, Abu Musaab Abdulwadood used to head an organisation called Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat [‘al-Jamā‘ah as-Salafiyyah lid-Da‘wah wal-Qiṭāl’], which now carries the much more media-friendly name Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [‘Tanẓīm al-Qā‘idah fī Bilād al-Maghrib al-Islāmī’]’.[4]  The outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy William Engdahl recently spoke to broadcaster RT: “Well, I think the intervention in Mali is another follow-up to the French role in other destabilizations that we’ve seen, especially in Libya last year with the toppling of the Gadhafi regime. In a sense this is French neocolonialism in action. But, interestingly enough, I think behind the French intervention is the very strong hand of the US Pentagon which has been preparing this partitioning of Mali, which it is now looming to be, between northern Mali, where al-Qaeda and other terrorists are supposedly the cause for French military intervention, and southern Mali, which is a more agricultural region. Because in northern Mali recently there have been huge finds of oil discovered, so that leads one to think that it’s very convenient that these armed rebels spill over the border from Libya last year and just at the same time a US-trained military captain creates a coup d’état in the Southern capital of Mali and installs a dictatorial regime against one of Africa’s few democratically elected presidents. So this whole thing bears the imprint of US Africom [US Africa Command] and an attempt to militarize the whole region and its resources. Mali is a strategic lynchpin in that. It borders Algeria which is one of the top goals of these various NATO interventions from France, the US and other sides. Mauritania, the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Burkina Faso. All of this area is just swimming in untapped resources, whether it be gold, manganese, copper”.[5]

Not just uranium, but now there has also been found oil in Mali, as indicated by Engdahl. But there is really so much more at stake with regard to France’s nuclear energy needs, as demonstrated by the writer, activist, and subversive Doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford Adam Elliott-Cooper: “Like its neighbour, Niger, Mali is rich in a number of resources, including uranium. Following the ‘oil shock’ of 1973 in which the oil producing nations sharply increased the price of oil, the French decided an alternative route was needed. This alternative was nuclear energy, and over the 15 years following the shock, France built 56 nuclear reactors, more than any other country in the world. France now has 59 nuclear reactors, generating nearly 80% of its electricity, making it the world’s largest net electricity exporter. In 1999, the French parliament confirmed three objectives in relation to this newly found wealth, the first: security of supply”.[6]  Elliot-Cooper has this warning and note of hope: “The echoes of the scramble for Iraq’s resources, and the humanitarian catastrophe which followed are stark. The curbs on civil liberties in the West which the so-called War on Terror forces upon citizens is part of the same struggle that activists in West Africa are fighting against uranium mining corporations. Only by building links of solidarity between our continents can people begin to resist the disastrous intersection of the energy industries and state militarism both at home, and abroad”.[7]

[1] Cfr. “SPECTRE Speaks: Al Qaeda Issues a Statement”A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (07 May 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/spectre-speaks-al-qaeda-issues-a-statement/ and C. Erimtan, “A frontline in the war against Islamic Extremism or A Crucial Part of the Eurasian chessboard?” Today’s Zaman (25 January 2011) — http://tiny.cc/h3b5g.

[2] Cfr. “Killing a Monster: OBL and the War on Terror” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (15 May 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/killing-a-monster-obl-and-the-war-on-terror/.

[3] Cfr. “Libya: Assisted Rebellion or Humanitarian Intervention???” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (07 April 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/libya-assisted-rebellion-or-humanitarian-intervention/.

[4] Cfr. “Propaganda: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Mali” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (29 November 2012). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/propaganda-al-qaeda-in-the-islamic-maghreb-and-mali/.

[5] “‘Pentagon’s hand behind French intervention in Mali’” RT (19 January 2013). http://rt.com/news/mali-intervention-pentagon-conflict-303/.

[6] Adam Elliott-Cooper, “Blood for Uranium: France’s Mali intervention has little to do with terrorism” Ceasefire (17 January 2013). http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/blood-uranium-frances-mali-intervention-terrorism/.

[7] Adam Elliott-Cooper, “Blood for Uranium: France’s Mali intervention has little to do with terrorism”.

C-Span Talks to NPR’s Steve Inskeep

‘Our guest is author and co-host of National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” Steve Inskeep. He discusses his book titled Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi, which was recently released in paperback. He chose Karachi because he feels the city best exemplifies how a town grows and changes when the population rapidly escalates. He shares the history of Pakistan’s religions and governments, and how they impacted the planning of this city since 1947 (22 Oct 2012)’.