PARIS, January 12, 2013 — France's military intervention in Mali is a legitimate reaction to the offensive against the south of the country, led by the jihadist movements that currently occupy the north. It complies with the UN resolution voted up in December, and comes in response to the calls for assistance made by the Mali government and the president of the African Union.
However, without a global change in our African and international policies, this intervention will lead to a disaster, and could transform the center of Africa into a new Afghanistan.
In Mali itself, it is indispensable that we bring a perspective of economic development, and help eliminate networks of corruption. We must assist, in particular, in the development of a water management policy, rehabilitating the five lakes that make up the Faguibine system of the Niger River Inland Delta, and more generally, of the 17 great lakes of the north.
With civilian means and those of our military engineers, we must help to revert the silting up and soil degradation, improve the quality of water, and preserve the forests. Without such improvements in the environment, it will be impossible to restore a lasting desire among the population to live together.
A policy of social justice and of participation in state affairs will also have to be negotiated with the authentic representatives of the Tuareg people.
That clearly means that we must reverse the consequences of our disastrous intervention in Libya, which has led to the spread of weapons throughout Sub-Saharan and Sahelian Africa, and we must put an end to 50 years of "Françafrique" (French-African "deals and schemes") by rising above it.
More generally, we must make a choice in our foreign policy. We cannot fight against jihadists in Central Africa, and encourage them in Syria. We cannot be friends with Qatar, seek big contracts in Saudi Arabia, and at the same time fight those whom they are financing and arming! It is time to choose.
If our intervention in Mali means that we are making a new choice, defying the financier neo-colonialism and the Empire of the City of London and Wall Street, then we must give it our full support. If, on the contrary, we intend to continue the policy that we pursued in Libya and are now pursuing in Syria, as part of a globalist imperialism, we are headed for disaster. We would lose both the war, and our honor.
Jacques Cheminade ran for President of France in 2012, with backing from the Solidarité et Progrès party, which he founded in 1996. His statement in the original French is available on his website http://www.cheminade2012.fr/Mali-notre-intervention- militaire-doit-conduire-a-un-changement-de_00938