[email protected]

January 20, 2013, Sunday

Why are Russia, Iran and China silent on Mali?

For over a week, the world has been watching the French operation against the rebels in Mali. Will France experience a great failure in the Great Saharan Desert or will it defeat the al Qaeda-linked rebels?

 If it defeats the rebels, will France put an end to the rule of the rebellious forces that occupy the north of the country? There are so many other similar questions.

Nobody discusses whether the operation by France, which has stayed in the African continent as a colonizer and still has military bases in the region in an expression of its ambition to extend its colonial goals, is correct in its action.

Particularly Russia, Iran and China, which extend support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have shown no reaction at all. Is this because the groups fighting against the central administration Mali are linked to al-Qaeda?

Let me give you the answer. These three countries do not care about Mali at all because it holds no strategic meaning for them. In the absence of strategic significance, they happen to forget all the arguments they raised to keep Assad in power.

For France, which sees Northern Africa as its backyard and pays attention in order to protect its interests in this region, Islamist forces coming to power in Mali would mean a great disaster. Therefore France, which previously dismissed the request for support against the rebels in the Central African Republic, immediately responded to the call by the central government in Mali.

Everybody is after material and strategic gains. France, which performed poorly by extending huge support to the previous regime in Tunisia and by establishing strong ties with the Gaddafi regime, is as responsible as Russia, China and Iran. In other words, like these three countries, France considers only its own interests, rather than humanitarian concerns.

It is certain that a new order is being established in the Middle East. In that new order, Western countries, Russia, China and Iran will have less impact and influence. Even if they are involved in the regional affairs, they will not be able to get what they want.

After Assad is gone in Syria, the other countries in the region will have serious doubts about the three countries that extended full support to this bloody regime. Iran, in particular, will have a bad record. It certainly will face serious accusations with respect to its support to the Syrian regime, considering that it has made frequent references to the minority rights of the Shiite people in Gulf countries. On what grounds will Iran be able to defend the fundamental rights of the Shiite people in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab? Emirates and other countries in the region?

The type of relationship that Iran will develop with Israel is a matter of curiosity, as it will be disconnected with Hezbollah after the fall of the Baath regime. These two countries that try to survive by posing threats against each other will have a difficult time sustaining their influence in the Middle East. Maybe they will develop a relationship of cooperation. And maybe Iran, which has been calling the US the Great Satan for many years, will become one of its strongest supporters in the region.

A closer look at the map will tell us what sort of policy Iran will follow in the region.

Undoubtedly, Iran is the weakest among the Islamic countries and will have a better position in their negotiations with the West or future superpowers China and India, because Iran does not want Sunni neighbors. This will inevitably drive the Iranian regime to seek partnerships with non-regional countries, as it had done in the past.

Getting back to Mali, France does not want to lose this country, one of the poorest nations in the world, because West Africa is a great region for France to promote its products, culture, religion and language. Most of these countries are Francophone; in other words, they were French colonies in the past.

If Mali should fall, the region will fall apart. Alarm bell will ring in Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania and Morocco, which are under Salafi threat. European countries, particularly France, will experience a great strategic defeat and will feel threatened by al-Qaeda.

In fact, France and Western countries are reaping what they sowed. The years to come will show how these countries that have exploited the region’s natural resources and attempted to convert the people to the Christian faith with missionary activities will pay for what they have done.

Previous articles of the columnist