“Dark Shadows Over The Arab Spring” is the title of an interestingly provocative article written by Mr. Tahar Ben Jelloun*, and published on the Italian daily “La Repubblica”. Reading it in one breath, I couldn’t help agreeing, in part, with the author despite our opposed ideologies.. Yet my personal conclusions in merit of the issue, are somewhat ‘different’!
Ben Jelloun renders the rise of the ‘Salafists’ growing power, as well as their full dominion over large parts of the African Sub-Saharian vast territories carved from Mali, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Libya; to continuous political errors committed over the past twenty years mainly by the Algerian government, and lately as a direct consequence to the Libyan revolution battle of Benghazi followed by the lynching of Gheddafi; altogether have left adrift thousands of Libyan soldiers other than numerous mercenaries and some Touareq roaming about aimlessly.
The author explains that after having secured their refuge at the “Sahel”, and possessing substantial quantities of arms and munitions of every caliber that could be drawn out from every deposit they’d found on their way; these roaming forces aggregated to other adventurous groups like: the Algerian Islamic Armed Group (which took part in the civil war between 1991 and 2001), the Mauritanian and Moroccan militias who already acquired their combat experiences while serving in Afghanistan first with the Mujahedin and later on with the Taliban. They attracted recruits in other similar factions following no faith or law, mainly originating from the region while some even from Europe. Thus the north of Mali became the meeting point and training grounds for these groups who became united together under the command of hidden men, veiled and mysterious, holders of enormous fortunes, using Islam as an emblem for their actions.
Mr. Ben Jelloun raises a very important aspect of the issue, while the Al Qaeda leaders sympathised the founders of the “Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb” and favoured with utmost consideration the project for a Radical (Salafist) Islamist Governed Maghreb; what really counts here is ‘MONEY’. To procure the large finances needed to satisfy their aims, those groups adopted means of drug trafficking, hostage seizure and human trafficking (clandestine migration to Europe).
The French intervention in Mali, explains Ben Jelloun, having as the primary objective to protect the rich Uranium mining area near the Niger borders, an element vital to European and international interests; have been not only warmly applauded by the international political community, but as well welcomed by the Mali population constantly menaced by the advancement of those groups that in the country’s north have demonstrated what they were/are capable of. But Islam has nothing to do with what those unscrupulous “Jihadists” are committing; cutting hands or stoning women, for these are actions meant to terrorise the population to earn better control. They are not the militant for a noble cause, but most of all they are simply some greedy drug traffickers, using techniques like seizing hostages to extort large sums of money, and promoting clandestine migration (human slavery) as a profitable trade to finance their business. But still one piece of the puzzle is missing.
Mr. Ben Jelloun sustains that the internationally supported French military intervention must find answers to the most important, yet still unanswered, questions:
· Who finance those groups?
· Who provides them with arms?
· Who’s hiding behind such barbarism that is spreading widely?
· What states sustains them?
If it is true that Mali has every interest in a French military intervention to recuperate part of its sequestered territories; on its part, explains Mr. Ben Jelloun, Algeria was decided not to intervene in that conflict. Having its civil war wounds still bleeding, and having resisted to the Arab Spring winds, did not have any interest whatsoever to get involved in the workings aiming to destabilise part of Africa. But the hostage crisis forced it in and the results were tragic as we have witnessed lately.. Due to the improvised unilateral Algerian security forces (Russian stile) intervention, lots of human lives were sacrificed in vain. Just because the government of Algeria refused to sit at the negotiation table some twenty years ago to find a serious solution to the Sahara problem together with Morocco and Mauritania.
Now, to exploit the Arab Spring and gain out of it to their own aims are mainly the Islamist forces from every kind and ream, explains Mr. Ben Jelloun. They have easily collected like a heavenly offered manna the chaos generated by the revolutionaries in Libya, that land without a state, and in countries like Tunisia and Egypt, where the State exists only in the hands of Islamism.
The author brings all that as the reason why a Dictator like Bashar Al Assad of Syria continues his massacres with the absolute impunity. Just because Russia and China, both outcastes from the Libyan game, refuse to abandon the Syrian dictator, making belief that a bloody régime like that is however more preferable to an Islamic Republic in hands of Salafists, that would jeopardize the region’s stability and of course the industrialized community’s vital interests in the region.
But in reality, things are a lot less simple that what you are selling here Mr. Ben Jelloun.. Other aspects must be considered in that regard, and I will try to synthesise them as briefly as I can.
I. The New Cold War / The Neo-Colonial War.. As we may have noticed, ever since the fall of the WALL and consequently the ‘retirement’ of Communism, not as a way of life but as an inadequate economic practice to compete in times of the new doctrine of ‘GLOBALISATION’. Thus it became inevitable that another type of conflict would arise to formulate a new, yet not less fierce, Cold War.. An economic war.. With no rules of engagement.. A new cold war having opposed the western alliance on one hand, and the Russian/Chinese axis on the other.. A cold war where its battle grounds are the financial markets and the economic control of the world’s natural resources. After almost 25 years this New Cold War mutated into a flagrant and blunt traditional belligerent war.. Where people die, not only of hunger and poverty, but from bullets, land mines and dirty intelligent bombs.. It is no longer just a conflict over a contract or an oil field, but rather a war over territories and lands with what’s above it but mostly for what’s beneath it.. A Neo-Colonial Wars.
II. The Israeli elections and the Palestinian State Dream.. Israel’s elections outcome uncovered the awesome full charge ahead of the Right and Extreme Right parties towards the full control of the Knesset, thus of the Israeli main decision making center, which by the way is the only venue where laws are cooked, packed and delivered.. Laws for new colonies.. Laws for land confiscating.. Laws allowing Israel the seizure of the Palestinian accounts and their interests deposited, by law, in Israeli banks.. Laws for citizenship depriving an Israeli Arab wife originating from Gaza or the West Bank to enjoy the same rights as her Arab husband originating from Tel Aviv or West Jerusalem.. And so forth as we’ve seen over 20 similar discriminating laws, in support of a state of Apartheid, being passed smoothly and almost without any valid opposition through the latest mandate of Netanyahu’s government. Logically, in view of the coming right wing coalition (for Netanyahu have no alternative with his 31 seats but to seek alliance with the rest of the Far Right and Orthodox parties to be able to form a government and rule), Palestinians will suffer more.. and the anger will rise demagogically among all the Arab and Muslim world provoking more conflicts, thus dragging the region into more tensions all the more the Palestinian State becomes simply a pure Charade.
III. The French administration’s inner frustrations.. François Hollande is losing popularity because he taxed the rich by 75% for the income over 1 million/year thus using the return to create jobs and assist middle and small enterprises to survive, he diminished his salary and that of his cabinet by 30%.. He had no choice, facing a growing inner angry opposition, but to seek refuge in the old as history lie by creating a fearful enemy to fight in order to calm the spirits and regain consensus.. Not revealing the real reasons, Uranium rich deposit in Malì, and without any kind of pre-coordination with the European partners (as per the Union’s Lisbon Treaty art. 32, 347) Hollande launched his troops selling it to his citizens as a necessary limited and short time intervention with the sole objective of “..defending France’s historical ‘Ally’ Algeria menaced by Radical Islamic Terror that is gaining control over large parts of Africa, risking to destabilise important parts of Africa”!! Important to whom Monsieur Le President? Knowing that English, French, Portuguese, and German troops have never left their previous areas of influence in Africa, ever since the Great Empires Colonial times from the 16th till the 20th centuries, using different excuses every now and then; even creating and engineering tribal conflicts here and there just to maintain control over an oil field or a diamond deposit.. So Colonial dominion is still on, and consequently popular anger will continue to boil and steam.
IV. The Prelude to the War on Iran.. Israeli government, throughout the past four years, succeeded to convince the ‘Free World’ (and the ‘Moderates’ in the Arab World) that Iran is a serious threat to the peace in the Middle East, aside of being a “clear and eminent danger to the Israeli national security”.. The plans to attack Iran are already finalised and ready to go at a moment’s notice.. But the Arab Spring and the Syrian dilemma delayed the combined Israel/American/Nato plans to destroy Iran Nuclear capabilities.. What escapes to the average Arab citizen’s understanding is that Israel is still performing its role of being the Spear Head of any Western attack.. Remember Sèvres agreements back in 1956 with Britain and France to attack Egypt? Same same again my friends, only this time the plan is to “Redesign the Middle East” and redefine the borders of the entire region from Morocco till Pakistan.. That entire region must be ‘Balcanised’!! And once this reality will become a common knowledge for every Arab and Muslim world wide, the anger will provoke a sudden uncontrollable explosion.
V. The Obama second mandate and the USA withdrawal from Afghanistan.. Barak H. Obama won his second mandate, and knows that he must face his country’s inner ‘grievances’ rather than get involved, first hand, in fruitless conflicts abroad.. Let his allies do the job instead, so that his administration can do some good inside.. Bill Clinton did the same, and as such have strengthened the American economy and sustained the American way of life.. Obama knows quit well that the full withdrawal of his troops from Afghanistan is only temporary, since the region is vital to American interests (being the south western borders of the ex USSR).. Now Taliban’s power is growing throughout the area, and the US has delegated Pakistan to negotiate terms of truce with the ‘terrorist’ group, so that when the time comes and the Taliban would regain their grasp over a feeble Karzay capital, a renewed intervention can be justified.. Only it will be a permanent presence this time.
VI. The Humanitarian Aid Intervention is just a Western Neo-Colonial War Tactic.. Most of the stuff we read about wars are deliberately misleading: similar to war bulletins, indisputable in their peremptory fragmentariness, that do not stimulate deep meditation over the event but encourage the receiver just to notice it while lying down comfortably zipping whatever he’s drinking, thus considering single interventions as singular with no close connection between them. A wider and longer look should help realising a more accurate balance, after all, of conflicts with no clear objectives, without any limitation to space or time; which have dilated ‘Armed Islam’ instead of containing it, that from Afghanistan has now extended till the Sahara-Sahel.. So that nothing could be deducted out from the past errors.. Where any debate about such errors is systematically silenced.. Noble adjectives with which we make-up the tree of wars, like ‘Humanitarian’ or ‘Democratic’, aren’t good enough to conceal their disastrous outcome: those interventions create “Chaos” rather than “Order”.. They create more “Feeble and Vulnerable” states rather than “Strong” ones.. Once “Mission Is Accomplished” countries are abandoned to themselves, not without provoking a profound sense of disillusion, that can be easily converted into hatred and violent anger, among the “Aided” populations.
I believe that the time is due to reexamine what is being called “Humanitarian, Democratic, Anti-Terrorist Intervention”. Available data confirm that only throughout the past seven years, the number of “Electoral Democracies” in Africa shrunk from 24 to 19!! A good 21% loss of democracies, and instead a substantial increase of meaningless bloody tribal wars absorbing resources, damaging economies, aggravating refugees problems, multiplying hunger and other social/health related problems, dividing populations, fragmenting states, and exporting violence.. But most of all, it generates a significant growth of the fortunes of “Aiding Countries” through arms sales, special security training programmes and technical assistance contracts!!
So Mr. Ben Jelloun, please don’t forget to mention to your loyal readers, in France and in the Arab/Muslim world, that the Cold War Era has ended and we are definitely in the Neo-Colonial Era.
After all, could this be what several thousand years ago, the MAYA astrologists predicted in their famous prophecy about the end of an era due on December 21st 2012, as the “Sun will enter the Aquarius zodiac marking the start of a New Earth Life Cycle”???!!!
Pass On The Word.*Tahar Ben Jelloun: is a Moroccan philosopher. As he wasn’t fit to teach in Arabic language, he left for Paris where he made a Doctorate in Social Psychiatry. He collaborates with the daily French newspaper “Le Monde”.