After the French government announced some time ago that it would withdraw more than half of its soldiers from Mali, the time has now come.

It begins with the publicity-generating withdrawal from the Malian city of Timbuktu (picture above from the 5th of December). A little more than eight years ago, French troops were sent to Mali, supposedly to liberate the city of Timbuktu from so-called "Islamists". The French army succeeded and was celebrated in the media. Nevertheless, the French occupation continued, and by the end of the year the French soldiers should be out of the country again. Especially in the big cities of Mali, voices have been and are again being raised calling for a further occupation by French troops. They fear a stronger expansion of the power of the so-called "Islamists". The whole thing is very reminding of the withdrawal of the Yankee imperialists from Afghanistan this summer. While larger sections of the population in the countryside, where the Malian government is hardly noticeable, have no major problems with the so-called "Islamists", especially in the cities, people who have collaborated with French imperialism now fear consequences. Political instability is now expected, they say in the bourgeois media, because there have been two coups within the last year and the so-called "Islamists" are advancing further and further towards the big cities. This bourgeois "political stability" could not be established even by French imperialism and its army in the past eight years, even if they try to chalk up the operation as a success. But it is becoming more and more evident, also from the new protests against the French soldiers in Burkina Faso and Niger, that the peoples in the region are tolerating the French occupation less and less and are resisting it.