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'French war could destabilize Algeria'
Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:1PM
Interview with Douglas De Groot
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An analyst says proxy forces using Mali as a base want to destabilize Algeria, the refugee displacement from which would be at France’s doorstep.

In the background of this ECOWAS and other members of the UNSC are saying UN peacekeepers are necessary in Mali to relieve the humanitarian and refugee situation. The UN has said the Mali government is reluctant to approve a UN peacekeeping operation in the country. The government thinks that UN peacekeepers would only be useful once the fighting between French troops and foreign-backed al-Qaeda-type militants ends.

Press TV has interviewed Douglas De Groot, executive Intelligence Review. Washington about this issue. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: It’s interesting that this is the very same junta that basically begged the international community to come in and intervene and fight off these fighters in northern Mali, but now it has a problem with UN peacekeepers coming in. What do you make of that?

De Groot: The government’s concern - the transitional government’s concern is that the African force and the French support for that force, which intervened unilaterally, was designed to reestablish the territorial integrity of the country.

Part of the Jihadist forces wanted to break off and make a separate part of the country in the north. So this intervention was to reinforce the idea of territorial integrity of the country - to reestablish that.

The government’s concern is that if this UN force gets involved before that territorial integrity is guaranteed or established then who are they going to back? Are they going to get themselves between various forces inside Mali itself i.e. the government who wants to establish territorial integrity and the group that doesn’t and do peacekeeping between those two groups?

They only want the UN force in once the territorial integrity of their country is established. That’s their primary concern.

Press TV: Speaking of territorial integrity, it’s quite rich coming from a country, which has called in a former colonialist power to “liberate” it. What do you make of that?

De Groot: Why did the French do it? Well, there’s two related reasons: one is partly the old French Empire that has a lot of interests in that entire region, but also they don’t want to see Algeria broken up and given the same treatment that Iraq and Syria and so on have gotten because you would then have millions of Algerians fleeing into France. And they are not ready... they just can’t handle that kind of a situation.

I think they’re trying to protect France primarily and Mali was being used as a base for the proxy forces that were being used to try to destabilize Algeria as was demonstrated by the attack on the gas plant a couple of weeks ago.

Press TV: Is France safer today in your opinion because of this incursion into Mali?

De Groot: Safer? Well, I suppose there could be operations that they would try to run inside France as well to destabilize them.

But they don’t want Algeria to collapse and that’s why. The Mali operation was being set up as a platform for destabilizing Algeria and the rest of the West African states.

That’s why all the other African States in West Africa all supported the French intervention - because they know it’s going to come from there to go after them as well, these same proxy forces.

This thing was dragging along in the UN and nobody was supporting it so the French acted unilaterally for a combination of reasons: one because they have their resources connected to their old Empire there.

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