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:

Click for a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law, reflecting a wide variety of opinions. Here are a selection of this week’s articles:

Soldier Who Taught ‘Total War’ Against Islam Threatens to Sue Top Military Officer”, Spencer Ackerman
Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a US Army Officer who once taught an elective course at the Joint Forces Staff College advocating “total war” against Islam, has issued a press release through attorneys at the Thomas More Law Center threatening a lawsuit against Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey for shutting down Dooley’s course on Islam this past April.

Algeria Should Reconsider Restrictions on Civil Society”, United Nations Press Release
The United Nations High Commissionar for Human Rights, Navi Pillay recently urged Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to expand a number of civil liberties, including press freedom and the ability of non-governmental organizations to “operate without undue impediments”.

U.S. Names 55 Gitmo Prisoners cleared to go”, Josh Gerstein
The United States has, for time, released the names of Guantanamo detainees who despite being cleared for release or transfer remain at the facility because of problems finding a country willing to take them or sending them to their home country.  A significant portion of the prisoners are thought to be of Yemeni origin, a country where Obama suspended transfers to in 2010.  

Iran blamed for cyberattacks on U.S. banks and companies”, Ellen Nakashima
In a C-SPAN interview, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, expressed his belief that recent cyber assaults on Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase were carried out by Iran and the Quds force rather than unaffiliated hackers.  Lieberman framed the attacks as a warning of Iran’s potential to strike back against potential US attack on Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions.

Harold Koh on Cyber-Attacks”, Harold Koh, Jens David Ohlin
Ohlin’s blog, LieberCode, provides the full text of Harold Koh’s speech on the law of cyberspace at the USCYBERCOM Inter-Agency Legal Conference.  Koh argues, among other things, that international law principles apply in cyberspace, that cyber activities may constitute a use of force under the meaning of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, and that complying with international law in cyberspace is part of the Obama Administration’s “smart power approach to international law”.  

Senate adopts Netanyahu’s red-line over Obama’s, 90-1”, Phillip Weiss
Weiss reports on a recently passed US Senate nonbonding resolution to “support any action against Iran lest it obtain nuclear ‘capability’”, describing the language of the resolution as echoing that of PM Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC’s “red line” on Iran.  Weiss quotes Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan, who called the resolution “a motion to back a foreign prime minister…over the president of the US.”

The Counterproductivity of US Covert Action During The Cold War”, Nicholas Lawrence Adams
In a long entry for e-International Relations, Adams details the history of the Central Intelligence Agency’s “covert operations”, including its role in the rise of the Shah in Iran and the agency’s support of the mujahideen in Afghanistan.  Adams concludes that, despite having been deemed successes at the time, the legacy of these interventions is one of “anti-Americanism” in the respective countries where such operations took place.

Click for more.