Our government wants us to send some Canadians in harms way in Mali in West Africa. As the country with the highest mortality rate for peace keepers, we are not going to enjoy Mali. “Don’t worry” our defence minister tells us, “We are only going to send a few helicopters, pilots, ground crews and people to do training.” We have time to get some fresh flags for the Highway of Heroes before the casualties start arriving.
You do know that being one of the larger countries in Africa does not make Mali any more hospitable? The French deserted the country after the Second World War and it has been in turmoil since. Between the isolation of the Tuaregs, the radicalism of the Islamists and the total incompetence of the southern tribes to run things, the country goes back and forth from totalitarianism to chaos quite quickly.
The poorly trained and ill-equipped West African troops trying to keep the peace in Mali have already had some 162 of their people killed by heavily armed brigands, Islamist terrorists and an alphabet soup of causes.
And do not be surprised when the Islamic extremists suddenly have ground-to-air missiles to welcome the Canadian helicopters. Thankfully, it is hard to find good cover in the Sahara north of Timbuktu.
The basic problem with Mali is that there is no peace keeping involved. First you have to have some peace to keep. And even in a country where our troops who speak French will have an immediate advantage, it is very difficult to tell a friend from an enemy. The land is the enemy.
And we are not making the task any easier when Canada and the U.S.A. are throwing billions of dollars every year into the Mali economy. Everyone wants their turn at being a politician so that they can rip off some of this money for themselves. Meanwhile, the cotton economy of the south is dwindling, the fundamentalist Islamists of the north are funded by the middle-east supporters if ISIL and Al-Quaeda and the Tuaregs just keep working their salt mines.
Why Canada’s government feels it has to make a statement of support to the United Nations this way is beyond us. A seat on the Security Council for our dead is not worth it.
Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry
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