Involved and MiredNorth and north-west Africa represent a hotbed of tribal rebellions overlaid with lividly-obnoxious Islamism. From Sudan to Somalia, Algeria to Mali, Libya and Egypt, reflecting other Muslim and Middle East countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon, Islamism appears unstoppable. Its malign ideology and militant politics has unsettled vast tracts of geography. And in the struggle to overcome opposition from reigning tyrants, theocracies, sheikdoms and dictators traditional in that world, brutal atrocities have proliferated.
The West felt itself compelled to present a united front of opposition against the broad march of violent jihad. Earlier bloody messages in the form of attacks against western embassies and military installations gave warning, but the full alarm failed to be raised until the attacks on the United States of 9/11, when the world was given full notice that Islamism had successfully infiltrated homeland defences.
In a self-protective collaborative approach the West responded collectively combining their military forces to launch their own reprisal attack against al-Qaeda and rout it along with their host, the Afghan Taliban from Afghanistan. What has never been solved in the quest to combat an ideology so invested in violence and mass murder to deliver a message of determined mass conquest, was how to fully squelch the movement itself.
The more it presents as a religious political ideology, the greater the backlash from among all the ummah, the great Muslim collective, who have been convinced and manipulated to believe that "Islamophobia" motivates the response from the West, attacked by violent jihadists, not the threats and bloodshed emanating from the fanatics within their community.
And that belief leads to the successful recruitment of young Muslim men into the war on the non-Islamic world. Recruits deliver themselves to the training grounds in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Algeria, Morocco and elsewhere. They become infused with the ideology of revenge and sacrifice, skilled in the manufacture of bombs and the use of firearms and set out to wage war.
And there are those recruited from Europe and North America where as part of the larger immigrant community, they were born and educated and socialized, but never severed from tradition and heritage. The opportunity to return back to those countries of their citizenship and wreak havoc there for the greater glory of violent jihad in Islamism finds countries like Spain and England, France, Holland, Indonesia and the United States waiting targets.
In an effort to prevent the firestorm of jihad from invading Western shores it seemed reasonable for the West to take itself to the crucible of the violence. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, where foreign forces became mired in a costly and time-consuming struggle to contain the flood by maintaining the dikes. But it proved to be a temporary solution, since there is never a shortage of new recruits.
So should Canada join France in Mali in the hopes that by aspiring to destroy the ambitions of jihad our own shores will be protected? Works in theory, not so much in practise. We have more than ample evidence of that, having left Afghanistan after over a decade of involvement with little to show other than temporary advances in civilized facade overlaying the medieval cultural scaffolding.
Afghanistan involvement solved little; from failing to entice farmers to grow edible crops instead of poppies whose sale benefited both war lords and the Taliban, to persuading tribal cultures that the education of females would result in huge benefits for the entire society. Involvement in unseating Libya's Moammar Ghadafi brought self-congratulations, and eventually the invasion of Mali by Islamist forces armed with looted Libyan munitions.
Libya remains mired in tribal and sectarian misery with the central government incapable of cementing a global administration and of accomplishing its primary task of disarming the tribal militias. And the arms depots that had been pilfered during the Libyan revolution enabled the Tuareg to return to Mali as trained mercenaries prepared to fight for their sovereignty, pairing with Islamists to contain northern Mali for their own.
Canada invested treasury in Mali, and its military trained Malian military in the hopes that it would succeed in helping that country to become a robust democracy. And then the Malian military marched in a coup to unseat the democratic government, finding itself no more capable than the government it faulted in dealing with the Tuareg rebellion. And calling upon France for help finally, when it feared Bamako would be invaded by Islamists.
With the experience of Iraq - at a remove - and Afghanistan from close encounters, along with Libya and its fallout, is there really any need for Canada to involve itself deeply once again in African/Islamic affairs, since nothing any foreign intervention attempts to achieve seems to come to any meaningful conclusion?