(MintPress) – A new “scramble for Africa” is now underway led by the U.S. under the guise of anti-terror operations in West Africa. The French invasion of Mali began on Jan. 16 when 800 French troops landed in Mali — that number has now swelled to 2,500 and is expected to grow as the U.S. […]
(MintPress) – A new “scramble for Africa” is now underway led by the U.S. under the guise of anti-terror operations in West Africa. The French invasion of Mali began on Jan. 16 when 800 French troops landed in Mali — that number has now swelled to 2,500 and is expected to grow as the U.S. and other European nations send troops and supplies to support the mission.
With the material backing of the U.S., France entered Mali to bring a swift end to an insurgency of terrorist rebels in the northern territory of the West African country. While the presence of al-Qaeda fighters in the breakaway state of Azawad presents a serious security challenge to the Malians and its neighbors, skeptics charge that there are other motives behind the intervention.
“The invasion has almost nothing to do with ‘Islamism,’ and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China,” writes world-renowned author and investigative journalist John Pilger in a recent anti-war article..
This could be the reason that the U.S. recently established a drone base in Niger, allowing U.S. forces to survey vast tracts of land for both “combatants” and natural resources. China has expanded their foothold in Africa establishing trade ties and working to extract natural resources to help grow their economy.
China-Africa trade grew over tenfold from $10.6 billion dollars in 2000 to $115 billion dollars in 2010. 62 percent of trade involved oil, while 17 percent was for various metals, including iron and gold. Oil and metals are essential for manufacturing in China’s rapidly growing economy.
Mali presents a similar opportunity for the U.S. The Tuareg, the original inhabitants in northern Mali live atop vast reserves of oil. “Poor though the Tuareg may be, they are often living on top of great reserves of oil, gas, uranium and other valuable minerals,” writes Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn. Cockburn is an expert on foreign affairs, covering events in the Middle East and North Africa for British publications, including the Independent and the Financial Times.
The sudden interest in Africa by the U.S. continues a long, unfortunate history of developed countries in the Global North invading African territories to pillage natural resources.
All countries, except for the areas that later became Ethiopia and Liberia, would succumb to direct and indirect forms of European colonialism. In some countries, large communities of European settlers established towns and cities that were governed by separate, European laws.
Belgium, U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain all maintained colonies in Africa up until the mass decolonization of African states in the mid-20th century. Each country used natural resources as an input to their home economies, providing European consumers with a wider diversity of goods.
Where Europeans of the 19th and 20th centuries used direct imperialism, The U.S. and China appear to be laying the groundwork for similar forms of economic imperialism in an effort to establish spheres of control over vast natural resources in Africa.