Does France‘s military campaign in Mali have a more pressing motivation than the liberation of the Malian people from extreme fundamentalism?
As the Franco/Malian forces push onwards in northern Mali, recaptured towns reveal the extent to which the fundamentalist rebels were going attempting to quite literally wipe the pages of history. Before fleeing, the rebels burned the ancient manuscripts of Timbuktoo – just one element amongst many of the Malian heritage that they have been destroying. Fortunately, over 50,000 pages of the manuscripts had been saved before the Islamists got their hands on them and have undergone restoration and digitalisation work in Lyons.
But is there a deeper, more economic motive to the French military action? Yes there is, according to the head of the independent French nuclear watchdog body l’Observatoire du Nucléaire Mr Stéphane Lhomme.
According to Lhomme, the war that the French are currently engaged in has a specific target to “secure the supply of uranium to nuclear power plants in France: uranium is extracted from mines in the north of Niger, a desert zone that is separated by Mali… by a geographical line on the map.”
The same thesis is put forward by some newspapers, most notably the Algerian daily El Watan. They explain that “the proximity of Mali to Niger (fourth largest uranium producer in the world), the fact that it belongs to the Sahel region (that experts consider as major hot zone for the transport of oil and gas) and to the wider African continent (which serves as a theatre for power plays between the world economic powers) are all factors that explain the French intervention in Mali.”
The same sentiment is echoed by journalist Florent Detroy – a specialist in raw materials. He says that the “halting of the Niger mines would be catastrophic for the (Areva) group and for the French.”