YESTERDAY, PM Theresa May met with French President Macron in a UK-France Summit that was, however, no ordinary summit.
Firstly, it took place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, an unusual place to hold a summit. Secondly, as the ‘2018 United Kingdom-France Summit Communique’, published by Downing Street confirms, ‘In advance of the Summit, and to deepen our strong ongoing cooperation, the heads of the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service, the Security Service, and the Government Communications Headquarters met with the French counterparts, the heads of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure and the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure.’
As the Communique points out: ‘This was the first time in our history that these five intelligence chiefs have all been brought together in a single meeting.’ The summit was also attended by British cabinet ministers and their French counterparts.
This meeting was not only about the UK and France signing ‘the first joint treaty on the Calais border in 15 years’, as billed. It is true that at the summit May committed to hand the French £44.5m for the ‘Le Touquet’ border agreement in Calais to ‘support the reinforcement of security measures in and around the ports of Calais, Dunkirk, Ouistreham and Le Havre, Eurotunnel premises.’
And it is also true that construction work is well underway of a UK-funded £22m, 13ft high, three quarters of a mile long concrete wall dubbed the ‘Great Wall of Calais’, in an attempt to stop refugees and asylum seekers climbing into the back of trucks heading for Britain.
But what was made clear at this extraordinary summit was that the rulers of France and Britain are under no illusions that a wall, no matter how tall and no matter how long, will stop refugees and asylum seekers trying to cross the channel. What this summit was about was stopping ‘the migration problem at source’.
The Communique spells it out in black and white: ‘Upstream in the migration route, we will seek to support and empower host governments and communities to work across borders and address migration across the entire route through joint work in countries of origin and transit in regions such as North, East and West Africa.’
So the cat is truly out of the bag. This summit was to plan new imperialist military interventions in Africa, to stop the ‘migration problem upstream’. For this, Britain has pledged immediate support for France’s imperialist occupation of Mali. The Communique states: ‘Therefore, following French requests for additional support for Operation BARKHANE, the United Kingdom has decided to deploy three CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters to Mali to provide logistical support to the French operation.’
In return for the UK joining France’s imperialist adventure in Mali, France will join the UK-led battlegroup in Estonia. However, this is just for starters. A ‘Combined Joint Expeditionary Force’ is to be assembled. It is to have ‘A programme of work that will deliver a force that could number over 10,000 with Full Operating Capability in crisis management operation involving early entry in a potentially hostile territory by 2020.’
The Communique adds: ‘The United Kingdom and France commit to working together to bring greater peace, stability, resilience and security in the Sahel and southern Libya, north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin; to continuing to support the international community’s efforts in the Horn of Africa.’
The UK, French and US imperialists used this approach to totally destroy Libya in 2011, bombing the infrastructure, arming terrorist groups, murdering the Libyan leader Gadaffi and allowing rival Islamic gangs and militias to ransack the country, opening the door to the mass fleeing of refugees and asylum seekers that we see today.
The UK rulers are now once again partnering with the French imperialists to launch a new assault on North Africa to attempt to occupy, plunder and control it, and prevent a flood of people leaving for a better life.
This is how the French and British imperialists intend to deal with the ‘migration problem’ at source or ‘upstream’, as they put it, in North Africa. This drive to new wars comes out of the desperate crisis of imperialism. It will be answered by the revolutionary mass movement of the workers of North and South Africa and Europe. It will put an end to imperialism with socialist revolutions and go forward to socialism!