World View: France Reverts to Neo-Colonialism, Returns to Central African Republic

World View: France Reverts to Neo-Colonialism, Returns to Central African Republic

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • France reverts to neo-colonialism, returns to Central African Republic
  • Attacks on churches and mosques in Russia on the rise
  • U.S. prosecutors charge 49 Russian diplomats with health care fraud

France reverts to neo-colonialism, returns to Central African Republic

People stand near bodies found lying in a mosque and in its surrounding streets in the Central African capital Bangui on Thursday, after overnight violence (AFP)
People stand near bodies found lying in a mosque and in its surrounding streets in the Central African capital Bangui on Thursday, after overnight violence (AFP)

Fearing a massive genocide, the 15-member U.N. Security Council onThursday voted unanimously to allow French and African forces “to takeall necessary measures,” including military action, to protectcitizens and restore order in the Central African Republic. Sectarianviolence between Christians and Muslims has been building since Marchof last year, when a Muslim rebel coalition called Séléka overthrewPresident Francois Bozize and installed their own leader MichelDjotodia as interim president. However, the political coup didn’t endthe violence. Séléka continue attacking perceived Christiansupporters of the ousted president, and Christian self-defensemilitias have sprung up and are launching retaliatory attacks,sometimes against Muslim civilians.

France’s President François Hollande has been leading the effort toget U.N. Security Council approval for military action, and France isset to increase its fighting force in C.A.R. to at least 1,000soldiers, at a time when it has sent thousands of soldiers to Mali,earlier this year.

The interventions in the two former French colonies are raisingquestions over whether France is slipping back to interventionist,neo-colonial policies known as “Françafrique” — meddling in theaffairs of its former colonies. But the threat of genocide inC.A.R. is highly emotional for France, which was accused of supportingthe Hutu regime that massacred the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. In anycase, France does not want to be accused of looking the other way asMuslims and Christians tear each other apart in the C.A.R. France 24 and NPR

Attacks on churches and mosques in Russia on the rise

The mutual xenophobia between Christians and Muslims in Russia isresulting in a recent sharp increase in extremist acts, particularlyin the North Caucasus, Russia’s southern provinces. A negative imageof Muslims has been firmly established in Russia. A man with a beardor a woman wearing the hijab are increasingly perceived in society asextremists, and that attitude is creating a backlash among Muslims.Attacks on churches and mosques have been on the increase. Forexample in Tatarstan, there was an arson attack on a mosque in August,followed by eight reprisal arson attacks on Churches. The RussianOrthodox Church is contributing to the problem by trying to extend itsinfluence by building churches in mainly Muslim regions, where thechurches are not wanted, and where there is almost no attendanceanyway.

Historically, for centuries, there have been three regions where theChristian and Muslim worlds have had their bloodiest and mostgenocidal confrontations: the Caucasus, the Crimea and the Balkans(three regions which, like the Bronx and the Hague, cannot be properlyreferenced without the word “the”). Josef Stalin was particularlyruthless towards the Muslims in the Caucasus, with mass executions andmass forced relocations during and after World War II. Now, as thegenerations of survivors of those genocidal actions have alldisappeared, tensions are growing among younger generations ofChristians and Muslims, and the Caucasus is headed for a new major warbetween the two groups. Jamestown

U.S. prosecutors charge 49 Russian diplomats with health care fraud

U.S. prosecutors have charged 49 current and former Russian diplomatsand their family members with participating in a scheme tofraudulently get $1.5 million in Medicaid health benefits by lyingabout their income. The charges say the defendants obtained lettersto prove their false incomes from officials at the RussianU.N. mission, including a former counselor and a former secondsecretary, as well as from former top officials at the ConsulateGeneral of the Russian Federation in New York and the TradeRepresentation of the Russian Federation in the USA. The diplomatshave diplomatic immunity and so cannot be arrested, though they can beasked to leave the country. Reuters

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