Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 24 January 2013


What can anything happening in Mali possibly have to do with any of us here? Sadly, a great deal.

First of all it is important to separate the recent hostage taking and murders in the oil refinery in Algeria with the growing conflicts in Mali, even though these two vast desert states border one another.

Mali is a North African country which enjoyed a fragile democracy since their French colonial masters departed in 1960. Unfortunately it has been the subject of a military insurgency in recent years, culminating with a military takeover of the north of the country in 2012. The people involved have links to Al-Qaeda and plan to set up a radical Islamic State from which to launch attacks upon the West. That is why the French government have recently sent in troops to try and oust this pernicious regime and the UK is offering them logistical support.

It is suggested that the slaughter in Algeria was an Al-Qaeda reprisal at French troops being put on the ground in Mali, although all the evidence is that it was being planned for some time. The Algerian atrocity is now over, but the situation in Mali, most likely, is only just beginning.

I realise that there is no appetite, none, for our country to become involved militarily in North Africa, especially after all of the pain of Afghanistan. I share the horror of more military intervention and none is planned by us in the short term. But looking to the future, what are we to do?  There is a growing group of radicalised Islamists who seek to set up an Islamic caliphate in the sands of Northern Africa from where they will seek to launch all manner of attacks to destabilise and overthrow Western governments. They can draw upon almost unlimited numbers and have ready access to weapons. They are fanatics who wish to bring down our way of life.

So if we ignore it, the monster will only grow in strength.

This is happening at a time when the USA (which is still the only military super-power on the planet) is clearly stepping back from its role as the world's policeman. Some of this have seen this coming and fear that it will usher in the most dangerous global period that we have ever lived through.

Of course nobody wants more military interventions. Nobody did in 1935 when Adolf Hitler started to flex his muscles. Oh dear.

posted by Gary @ 09:10