Mali Conflict: France Doing More Harm Than Good For African Country

France rang in the New Year by sending 2,500 troops into Mali earlier in January to allegedly aid the Malian government in their conflict against the Islamist rebels. But so far, all they have accomplished are multiple civilian deaths (for which the French Defense Ministry refuses to take responsibility) and the displacement of an estimated 30,000, according to the UN, with over 5,000 refugees arriving in Mauritania alone. Oh – and securing Mali's largely untapped resources.

While it is true that Islamic fundamentalists have ruled over the northern region of Mali since 2012, it has not been severe enough to constitute an intervention – especially from France, of all countries, who did not even provide direct assistance in Iraq back when the U.S. invaded to “save” the Iraqis from the iron-fist that was Saddam Hussein.

The true reason for France’s invasion in Mali, in fact, is fueled by the remnants of the imperial-power’s practice of exploiting poor regions for capitalistic profits that are to be gained by taking their resources such as uranium, gold and oil. Incidentally, all of which Mali has.

However, uranium, more than the other, is of utmost importance to France. After the "oil shock" in 1973 when the oil producing countries increased the price of oil, the French found an alternative route – nuclear energy. Since then, France has built 59 nuclear reactors which generate almost 80% of the country’s electricity.

Although Niger was France’s primary source of uranium trading, French investors have recently estimated that in the regions of Falea and Gao, the uranium potential is around 5,200 tons. France is also the world’s largest net exporter of electricity, earning revenue of over 3 billion euro a year, and through the French company Areva, it is also active in the development and export of nuclear-reactor technology. In other words, the French depend heavily on uranium and because of that it’s necessary for the French to topple the Islamic government in the northern region of Mali and replace it with a French-friendly puppet government that will allow the country to be exploited for its uranium.

Mali, despite being one of the poorest countries in the world with most living on less than $1.00 per day, is the African continent’s third largest gold producers. Canada’s gold producers IAMGOLD operate two mines there, with many other Canadian, U.S., and British investors also mining in the region (explaining all three countries’ all-too-ready involvement). The Malian government holds only 20% in all of these mines, though Mali’s first gold refinery is due to begin operations by November 2013. Mali’s petroleum potential has also attracted interest from investors, and the country has stepped up its production research for oil exploration, production and potential exports.

Therefore, despite all of President Hollande’s vows of ridding the country of terrorists, the true goal of France’s intervention is not saving the Malians from terrorists and militants but rather securing French interests by stripping yet another third world country of its natural resources.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Areej Elahi-Siddiqui

A Pakistani-American undergraduate student at the Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She enjoys watching inordinate amounts of television, reading far too many books and drinking lots and lots of coffee.

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