Only a few dissenting voices within the Left and the Green parties have gone against the decision of the Head of State, condemning the launching of a military engagement of France in Mali, which François Hollande had not brought before the Government or Parliament for discussion. In an op-ed published on 13 January, the former Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, also expressed his reservations about the “apparent haste” of the operation and his concerns about the re-use of the “war against terror” rhetoric.

Beyond the criticism of the decision-making process that led to the French military engagement and the questionable legitimacy of an intervention conducted in the name of the “war against terror,” there are also contradictions between Hollande’s alleged desire to break from the neo-colonial politics, as claimed during his election campaign, and the reality of his recent actions.

More specifically, François Hollande had declared: that he did not want to behave as “Africa’s policeman,” that he sought to abandon troubled relations related to “Françafrique," and that he would privilege multilateral action under the aegis of the United Nations, letting African countries take responsibility for their own security.  For the Head of State to commit an isolated France to an intervention in Mali directly contradicts his previous commitments, and inevitably forces him to adopt an interventionist posture.”

A Dangerous Show of Force from a Former Colonial Power

The above is an excerpt from the final installment of Jadaliyya's 3-part series, featuring various angles on the situation in Mali:

Thus far, Algerian press coverage and reactions are divided on France’s military intervention in northern Mali, Operation SERVAL, as well as the additional thrusts in the south by Mali’s jihadist coalition. Skepticism that has been prevalent in Algerian media coverage of calls for the internationalization of the Malian crisis remains a strong thread in opinion and editorial writing nonetheless. While significant strands of elite opinion—especially at the political level—appear to have somewhat rallied to support military intervention in northern Mali. At the same time, the Algerian government’s longstanding position in favor of “dialogue” and a “political solution” to the crisis remains evident in press reports, government statements, and skepticism over the prospects that the intervention will successfully resolve Mali’s troubles persists. Comments from Algerian intellectuals depicting the campaign as a “proxy war” of the United States or as destined for failure, and highlights given to the opinions of certain French voices suggest some level of discomfort over France’s intentions and the Algerian government’s role in the crisis; this is to be expected to some extent given the background of distrust between Paris and Algiers over Mali, as well as the nature of Franco-Algerian relations in general. Outside of the major dailies, some confusion does appear to exist over Algiers’ position in the ongoing struggle. This post only reviews French-language media and looks at perspectives through the beginning of the week of 13 January.

Read more for a summary of the discussions going on in Algerian press, featuring excerpts from Tut Sur Algerie, El Watan, Le Temps, Le Soir d’Algerie, and Algerie-Focus.