Millions for the Military
Germany is expanding its support for the war in Mali with around US $20 million worth of new commitments, destined for the African intervention force, AFISMA, and the Malian military, according to the German foreign ministry. This support will include a field hospital, trucks, and bulletproof vests. The German government also pledged to send a third Transall transport aircraft to Mali. Two Transall aircraft have already been deployed in the country, but, according to reports, are only of limited use due to technical defects. The third Transall should ensure two aircraft reliably operating simultaneously. The foreign ministry also points out that since the crisis in Mali began, Berlin has provided more than 13.5 million Euros in humanitarian aid. However, the German contribution cannot hide the fact that - as in the war in Libya - the UK has been cooperating much more closely with France than Germany has: London intends to dispatch more than 300 soldiers to Mali. From the perspective of alliance policy, this is important because Paris and London had entered a closer military cooperation in late 2010 to become more independent of German predominance in their military policy. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.)
Desert War Experts
Western countries and Berlin's close allies have played a significant role in creating the conditions that have enabled Islamist militias to take control of northern Mali. The current military operation with Germany's participation is directed now against this same militia. As is widely known, in late 2011, thousands of Tuareg soldiers, who had served in the Libyan armed forces, fled to Mali during the Libyan war with stockpiles of arms, where they launched a rebellion. Less well known however, is the fact that the Tuareg rebellion was supported by members of the military - by soldiers who had defected from the Malian armed forces. They were, for the most part, members of special units, which for several years were being trained and armed for counterterrorism in the Sahel and Sahara by the US military. US strategists chose particularly soldiers with experience in the Sahara - the Tuareg fighters - for desert war units. Three of the four Malian elite units immediately changed sides and taking their arsenals, joined the insurgents. The remnants of the Malian military had no chance against them.
The Islamist militias, who are now being repelled by the French army, have, themselves, received considerable support from Berlin's cooperation partners, including Qatar. Since the 1980s, according to observers, this small wealthy Emirate, predominated - like Saudi Arabia - by Wahhabism, the most reactionary form of Islam, has been operating various "religious schools and charities in Mali." Following the occupation of northern Mali by Islamist militias, Qatar intensified its support. The Emirate organized aid shipments, officially destined for occupied towns like Gao, but which, in fact, served to cushion the occupation and legitimize the new Islamist rulers. According to French intelligence sources, it is being widely speculated about whether the militia has been receiving additional material support. The fact is, Qatar had supported the Islamist militia in Libya and still is today in Syria. Doha is also providing political support to the northern Malian Islamists. Qatar's Prime Minster has criticized the French military intervention, saying that violence cannot "solve the problem." This man, a member of the dictatorial clan is expected to attend the Munich Security Conference this weekend.
Did not Spring up Overnight
A second cooperation partner of Berlin, Saudi Arabia, has also been intervening with support in northern Mali. The kingdom - like Qatar - has been active in Mali for years. According to reports, hundreds of Koran students from this West African country have been annually invited to continue their studies in Saudi Arabia. Islamism, originally hardly known to northern Mali, did not spring up in the country overnight," reports a correspondent. Over the past ten years, "countless mosques" have been built in the Sahel, "where children and youth are being shown 'the right path' by foreign imams." Since last year, Saudi Arabia has begun to support the Islamist militias in northern Mali - rivalling Qatar. This has also been in the form of aid shipments, according to reports. Observers point out that power struggles between local partisans of these two cooperation partners of Berlin, were officially the spark that ignited French intervention. According to this version, a pro-Qatar and a pro-Saudi militia got in each other's way. One of the two decided to withdraw from embattled Timbuktu to conquer its own realm - the town of Konna. Paris took this attack on Konna as its cue for sending troops to Mali.
In Syria and Mali
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been cooperating for a long time with the West - including with the Federal Republic of Germany - which over the past few years has significantly intensified its cooperation. This cooperation surpasses the merely economic domain. German companies have business deals worth billions with the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular, while billions from Persian Gulf sovereign wealth funds are simultaneously being invested in German companies. This cooperation extends also to the military level. German weaponsmiths are equipping the Gulf dictatorships with weaponry of every kind, the Bundeswehr is carrying out joint training with soldiers from the Emirates and the monarchies at the Persian Gulf. Qatar, as has been officially confirmed by Doha, had contributed several hundred soldiers to the Libyan war. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the main supporters of the insurgent militias in Syria, for whose victory, Berlin is also campaigning. Both countries support mainly Islamist militias - just as in Mali.