As in many recent conflicts involving Western intervention in other countries, France’s decision to wage war against Islamist militants in Mali has been accused by some as furthering its energy interests and economic investments, a suggestion that President François Hollande has unequivocally denied. Mediapart’s international affairs specialist Thomas Cantaloube finds the truth lies in between as he examines here just what are France's interests in the region. While Mali has quasi-inexistent mineral or energy resources, in the wider Sahel area, comprising the north of Mali, the east of Mauretania, Niger and parts of Algeria and Libya, the energy issue is significant.
French fighter jets began bombing missions over northern Mali on Sunday, where they are targeting Jihadist bases and supply depots, in the second - and what President François Hollande hopes will be the final – stage of France’s military campaign to oust the rebels from the West African country, and which began on January 11th. But while the war has so far been a political triumph for Hollande, the future is clouded by both the continuing delays in forming an adequate pan-African force to allow for a French withdrawal, and the new military challenges of fighting the rebels in mountainous terrain with which they are especially familiar. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
The French ‘military intervention’ that began in Mali on January 11th is also a war of words in which the socialist government has adopted semantics akin to neo-conservative rhetoric, argues Mediapart political correspondent Stéphane Alliès, who presents here some choice examples of ministerial sleight of tongue.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has assumed a high profile in the international military offensive launched to support the rebellion against the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. But US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, and published here by Mediapart, shed a revealing light upon previously sweet relations between Sarkozy and Gaddafi (photo), described by one American ambassador as a "honeymoon" period of "high hopes for lucrative contracts".