ECOWAS’ French-Backed Embargo of Mali Is an Ultra-Cruel Form of Neo-Imperialism

This latest maximum pressure campaign against Mali prompted thousands of its citizens to throng the streets over the weekend in an unprecedented display of anti-imperialist activism aimed at showing the world that they won’t stand idly by as the West collectively punishes them.

The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) recently imposed a land, air, and financial embargo of suspended member Mali in response to that country’s military authorities proposing to delay elections for five years. The latter’s logic is that the country cannot hold free and fair elections while broad swathes of its territory are presently occupied by terrorists. This is a credible argument but one that former imperialist power France fiercely disagrees with. Paris pressured ECOWAS to impose its ultra-cruel neo-imperialist embargo in order to sadistically punish the Malian people.

That Western European Great Power has been gradually losing influence in recent years across what it refers to as “Françafrique”. This is due to a combination of increasingly independent leaders and their people’s growing political awareness of just how much Paris economically exploits their countries through neo-imperialist means connected to resource extraction (mostly gold and uranium) and financial-monetary controls. Russia has been able to take advantage of these trends by presenting itself as a politically neutral “balancing” force for facilitating those countries’ independent policies.

In the Malian context, this resulted in news that the shadowy Wagner private military company (PMC) was in talks with Bamako about replacing the recently reduced French military presence there that was withdrawn last year under the pretext of punishing that country for its then-latest coup. Paris politicized these reports by ridiculously claiming that Wagner’s possible involvement there would reverse France’s alleged anti-terrorist successes, but this was recently refuted by Russian UN Ambassador Nebenzya who reminded everyone how desperately Mali needs security assistance in its ongoing War on Terror.

The strategic French-Malian-Russian triangle is driving events in that geostrategically located West African nation. Bamako aspires to become more comprehensively independent of Paris, to which end it regards Moscow as the most reliable partner for assisting it in this noble pursuit. France, however, has sought to cruelly punish the Malian people for their new military leadership’s anti-imperialist ambitions through its support of ECOWAS’ embargo, the purpose of which is to significantly worsen living standards there with the hopes of inspiring a Color Revolution and/or more Unconventional Wars.

This Hybrid War approach is typical of all hegemons in the face of their fading influence and has been attempted multiple times over the past decade by America against a slew of countries for the very same reason, most recently Ethiopia. The US, it should be noted, fully supports ECOWAS’ French-backed embargo of Mali. This latest maximum pressure campaign against Mali prompted thousands of its citizens to throng the streets over the weekend in an unprecedented display of anti-imperialist activism aimed at showing the world that they won’t stand idly by as the West collectively punishes them.

The Malian people can count on Russian and Chinese support in their anti-imperialist pushback against ECOWAS’ French-backed embargo. Those two Great Powers united to block the UNSC from supporting the latest neo-imperialist punishment against yet another African nation. Wagner’s alleged security assistance to Bamako could potentially be a game-changer in its War on Terror by providing the national forces with the help that they need in order to sustainably defeat this terrorist scourge that France never seemed truly serious in fighting despite occupying the country for years on that pretext.

Whereas Paris manipulated the issue of terrorism for pernicious divide-and-rule purposes, Moscow or at the very least those companies like Wagner that are speculated to be connected to it focuses solely on eradicating this danger without any political preconditions or pulling its partner’s strings throughout the course of this process. France fears the substantive impact of this reported intervention as well as its soft power consequences since it knows that it’ll accelerate the erosion of its reputation in the region by exposing Paris as self-interested, manipulative, and even a national security threat to its “partners”.

This explains why that Western European Great Power is throwing its full weight behind ECOWAS’ neo-imperialist maximum pressure campaign carried out through its ultra-cruel embargo in order to punish the Malian people. Paris wants average folks to feel the pain for daring to defy its hegemonic agenda by rallying behind their anti-imperialist military leadership. The worse that their living standards become, the better that this is considered to be for France since it could provoke increasingly desperate people into carrying out a Color Revolution or resorting to Unconventional Warfare against the state.

Time is therefore of the essence when it comes to Russia’s “democratic security” assistance to Mali, which refers to counter-Hybrid War tactics and strategies that include both kinetic forms like anti-terrorist support (even that which is rendered indirectly through PMCs considered to be close to the Kremlin) and non-kinetic ones like socio-economic assistance. The model that Moscow spearheaded in the Central African Republic (CAR) might soon be replicated in Mali, albeit modified for that country’s particular conditions. The more that Russia succeeds, though, the fiercer that France will push back.

By Andrew Korybko
Source: OneWorld

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