Tuesday, 5 February 2013

How should we view the Mali conflict?

1/2 France will never allow a Muslim state in Mali where 90 percent are Muslims
West Africa’s poverty stricken but mineral rich former French colony of Mali has been in the limelight since early last month.

Political crisis in Mali was triggered since January 2012 when the people in the north, Tuaregs, staged an armed conflict and declared a separate state .It was purely an internal affair .Many political leaders in the
region, especially from neighboring Mauritania, suggested that this crisis could and should be sorted out peacefully rather than military intervention which could destabilize the region.

Instead France entered Mali under the guise of fighting Islamists and started raining death and destruction as it had done in Libya. However people warned that Mali will be worse than Afghanistan for French led invaders.
Mali is a land locked country surrounded by Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Coted’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Mauritania .It has a population of 14.5 million of which more than 90 percent are Muslims .Its   land area  is  1,240,000 square kilometers.

The north of Mali stretches to Sahara desert while the south, blessed with Niger and Senegal rivers, remains fertile .It is in the south that bulk of the people live on agriculture and fisheries. Though rich in gold and uranium and third largest producer of gold in Africa     half of Mali’s population live below the poverty line of US dollar 1.25 per day.

Mali has been a one party rule for long until the 1991 coup which brought a new constitution. Since then Mali has been one of very fewmali041 functioning democracies in Africa.
However people in the north,Tuaregs, were a neglected and ethnically marginalized lot. They tried to establish a separate independent state of their own, but   failed. During the time of ousted dictator Mohammed Gaddafi Tuaregs were employed in the armed forces of Libya. The remittance from them played a crucial in keeping the body and soul together for thousands of  Tuareg families.

The problem started   with the peoples uprising in Libya during which France played a decisive role in ousting Libyan’s Dictator Muammar Gaddafi and toppled his regime. Former French President Nicola Sarkozy wanted his secret service to eliminate Muammar Gaddafi at any cost to ensure his shady deals do not come to limelight.

Tuaregs in the Libyan armed forces started leaving the country as rebel forces considered them mercenaries and started killing them. They returned home with their arms and training. It was this group which staged an armed conflict in January 2012   and established their separate state in the North of Mali called Azawad.

Three months later chaos broke out  after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. In the wake of the coup the Ansar Dine fighters fought back, pushed Tuaregs aside and took control of the region. The swiftness of the military success of Ansar Dine alarmed the west specially France which wanted to crush them at any cost and maintain its influence in the region.

Thus France launched war on Mali on 11 January 2013 to prevent the risen of Islam and plunder Mali’s natural resources.

The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark declared their support to the French war in Mali. Russia also provided assistance to France. In the midst France also dragged in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar changing the entire dimension of this conflict.

The US controlled United Nations Security Council which has become licensing authority for US-European invasion of Muslim countries voted unanimously on 12 October 2012 in favor of a French-drafted resolution asking Mali’s government to draw up plans for a military mission to re-establish control over the northern part of Mali.

British columnist Owen Jones wrote that “When the UN Security Council unanimously paved the way for military force to be used, experts made clear warnings that must still be listened to. The International Crisis Group urged for diplomatic solution to restore stability, arguing that intervention could exacerbate a growing inter-ethnic conflict.

Amnesty warned that “an international armed intervention is likely to increase the scale of human-rights violations we are already seeing in this conflict”. Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, argued that past wars show that “once started, they can take alarming directions, have very destructive results, and often enhance the very movements they are designed to counter”.

However all these warnings were dismissed by France and its partners in their drive to implement their well-planned military designs on resource rich Muslim countries in the region.

mali042As usual the Western media failed to provide a clear picture of the unfolding events. However   columnist David S. J. Borelli,  said this is one of the lesser-known but most crucial conspiracies being hatched to plunder   resources in the heart of Africa.

There is a wide consensus among neighboring Mauritanians, regardless of political leanings, against French involvement in Mali, which many view as a return to colonialism. This sentiment found expression in a fatwa, or religious edict, issued by 39 clerics and imams forbidding the Mauritanian government and people from cooperating with the invading countries.

Most of the country’s political parties agree with the clergy’s position and one of ruling party’s leading members, Mohammad Ould Mham, denounced the French war, saying that it would have been better for Paris “to gather all the Malian parties around the negotiating table – only dialogue can avert a war in Mali and the region.”

The Mauritanian Party of Union and Change claimed that it was French colonialism that created the problem in northern Mali in the first place and now it has returned to ignite a war, the consequences of which no one can predict.

Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi warned that the military intervention could “fuel conflict in the region”   and would lead to a new humanitarian tragedy.”

However oil rich Gulf states were dragged into the military conflict.

During a visit to Abu Dhabi  this month French  President Francois Hollande said   that  United Arab Emirates  are fully behind the French military intervention in Mali, and pledged ''their full support, including humanitarian, material and financial aid.

However in Kuwait demonstrators gathered outside the embassy, carried banners calling on France to end its war against the people of Mali. They condemned "the bloodshed of Muslims" in the West African country and urged Gulf rulers not to support the French offensive.

A report in the website Khalifah .com stated that from the very start of this military campaign there were reports of killing civilians and children by the French war machine which includes air bombardment and ground invasion. The French President Francois Hollande has stated clearly during his visit to Gulf States that he will not permit the establishment of an Islamic State in Mali. What is most disgusting is the support that Muslim rulers in the Gulf have given to France and its allies to help destroy Mali and its people.

Dealing with the unfolding humanitarian crisis the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that it has received reports of horrific human rights abuses. UNHCR staff members are relaying stories of "witnessed executions and amputations and it anticipates up to 700,000   people will be forced to flee their homes.    

On January 18, UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming warned that “there could be up to 300,000 people additionally displaced inside Mali, and over 400,000 additionally displaced in the neighboring countries. ”The figures do not include the existing 229,000 people already displaced inside the country and 147,000 refugees who have fled to neighboring nations, Fleming told reporters in Geneva.  

In another report   Mahboob Khawaja said  “ The hurriedly enforced allied adventure in West Africa - Mali- tells clearly that the US led bogus “War on Terror” is endless and unprovoked aggression is part of the planned Western crusade against Islam and Muslims   If American politicians are not irrational and war addicted what else is the reasoning for their utter madness and animosity against Islam and Muslims?

Columnist Glenn Greenwald   attempts to synthesize the end game: There’s no question that this "war" will continue indefinitely. There is no question that US actions are the cause of that, the gasoline that fuels the fire. The only question - and it's becoming less of a question for me all the time - is whether this endless war is the intended result of US actions or just an unwanted miscalculation.

Divided, scattered like seeds are Muslims and leaderless Arab people and their long due awakening to the prevalent realities of the emerging New World manipulated by the US war industries. There are lessons that other authoritarian Arab leaders should learn from the fate of Saddam, Gaddafi, Ben Ali and Bashar al-Assad. 

Writer Colin Wilson (A Criminal History of Mankind) captions the perpetuated animosity and degenerating viciousness of the US led War on Terror and illustrates how it is a replica of the failed Roman Empire:

Would the Muslim in general and the oil-enriched Arab rulers in particular, ever THINK intelligently to stop the American incursions into their hearts and minds and to challenge the US continued unprovoked belligerency against Islam and the unjustifiable bogus War on Terror against the Muslim people worldwide? (By; Latheef Farook)

Most people in the UK trying to figure out what is happening in Mali are almost entirely dependent on mainstream media outlets. But they all carry the same simplistic narrative.

The Western media tell us there are ‘good guys’ in the South, who adore the French for intervening.
They tell us there are ‘bad guys’ in the North. Some are ‘fairly bad guys’ – Tuaregs who were alienated for a long time, who have been manipulated by ‘Islamists’ but who could be part of a long-term solution.
Others are ‘really bad guys’ – variously described as‘Islamists’, ‘Jihadists’, ‘Rebels’ or ‘Extremists’. We are told they do nothing good and everything bad.

A Muslim viewing these events can apply certain principles, which avoid simply following the ‘good guys’ versus ‘bad guys’ narrative presented by a politicised and biased media machine in the West.

How should the Muslim view the recent events?

1. Muslims fighting Muslims is terrible in any circumstance.

The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and fighting against him is Kufr (disbelief). [Bukhari & Muslim]

So, whatever the root cause, when it comes to bloodshed on either side, it is a painful and tragic sight, and potentially disastrous for the participants in the akhira (afterlife).

2. Western colonial states intervening in Muslim lands is an unwelcome sight and unacceptable. 

Some people may try to justify the invitation of states like France on one side or the other saying the people need the protection of an external force, as a matter of life and death.

This is dangerous in political terms and unacceptable from a Shari’ah legal perspective.
From Shari’ah: Allah (swt) says: And never will Allah give the disbelievers a way over the believers (Quran 4:141).

Politically: This conflict is not the first such intervention by Western colonial powers in Muslim lands – where they maintained a presence of troops or Western installed proxy-rulers in order to secure a way over the politics and wealth of those regions.

Moreover, we can recall the lies, deceit and abuses committed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere – as well as the huge death count.

Allah (swt) says: O Believers, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies (Quran 60:1).
France’s history in North Africa includes the systematic killing of hundred of thousands of Muslims and uncountable cases of torture. The French claim the numbers of dead under their policies in Algeria were around 350,000 – but other estimates put the figures as well over 1 million Muslims. It is therefore inconceivable that France’s intervention is purely for humanitarian reasons – and Allah sets a clear limit, so avoiding a Muslim being duped by someone with enmity.

The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice. (Bukhari & Muslim)

3. Keep a healthy scepticism about news reports from a politically biased Western media.
Allah (swt) says: Believers! If a faasiq (wrongdoer) comes to you with news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done. (Quran 49:6)

Much of the media carrying the events of Mali to us are not virtuous trustworthy organisations.

They show images of Malians celebrating as the ‘Jihadists’ are expelled from cities – just as they once showed images of celebrating Afghans when the Taleban were expelled from Kabul, and celebrating Iraqis when Saddam fled Baghdad.

They present casualties of the conflict just as they present information about deaths from drone attacks in Pakistan – that those killed are without doubt ‘terrorist suspects or insurgents’ – even though there is ample evidence that thousands of innocent civilians are killed. One respected news journalist showed the dead bodies of three teenage Malian boys – and described them as recruits who fought with the Jihadists. How she came to know this with certainty, she did not say – but the information was presented with certainty, and without evidence.

We are told the rebels are violent, oppressive and barbaric. The most recent crimes laid at their door are the destruction of graves and an ancient library in Timbuktu. But we were once told that Iraqi troops had killed babies in incubators in Kuwait – which was untrue.

4. Beware the negative caricature of the‘Islamic’ behaviour 

The trick of the Western media is to conflate wrong-doing, accusations of wrong-doing and Islamic laws in such a way as to discredit the Islamic laws.

In Mali, we are told ‘Islamist’rebels enforce strict ‘Shariah’ law and oppressed and abused the people.
We have no idea if this is true or not.

If the either side committed wrong-doings or oppressed others, we should view it as wrong and not defend it.

But we should be wary to come out and condemn it, without being sure if it really did happen – in particular as the aim is to discredit Islamic laws and systems to the audience.

The same media carry very few criticisms of the criminal Saudi regime’s system or practices because the Saudi regime is a loyal ally of the West.

A Muslim does not need to defend any wrongdoings of any side (for which we have few reliable verifying sources) in order to oppose the intervention by France and its allies.

5. The problems exist due to the absence of a legitimate unifying power in the Muslim world – the Islamic Khilafah

Mali is an artificial construct of a colonial era. It was once a great centre of civilisation where the various tribes lived without conflict like that of today.

The Khilafah is the legitimate political authority – respected and recognised by Muslims – that arbitrated disputes between people. It rises above tribe, race and political faction.

In 1916, the French along with the British, dismembered the Khilafah in the Sykes-Picot accord – before fatally wounding it after World War I, leading to its demise in 1924.

The anarchy and chaos that has existed in the Muslim world post-Khilafah can be directly linked to the absence of a legitimate authority in the Muslim world. THe Khilafah is based on their beliefs, consistent with their values and rooted in their history.

Writing in the Times on 5thMarch 1924, Ameer Ali said of the removal of the Khilafah that “I fear the removal of this ideal [will] drive the peoples included in the vast Sunni following into the ranks of revolution and disorder.”

Sadly, his prediction has proved true. (HTB)

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