• Colonial Reflexes

    Mali’s government expels Danish troops, because they had joined the French-led Opération Takuba without the necessary approval. Resentment grows toward EU.

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    BERLIN/BAMAKO (Own report) – Mali’s government is escalating its confrontation with EU countries and, for the first time, is forcing the withdrawal of a European troop contingent. On Monday, the military government in Bamako declared that Danish soldiers had entered the country to join the French-led Opération Takuba without the necessary authorization, and that they must leave the country immediately. Denmark claims that the deployment of its troops had been approved by Bamako, but announced yesterday that it would withdraw the disputed unit from Mali. With this conflict, the Malian government’s protest against the behavior of European powers, accusing them of having “colonial reflexes,” enters its second round. The dispute hat already previously escalated, when Bamako decided to postpone elections, initially planned for February, and to invite Russian military instructors into the country. With Sunday’s putsch in Burkina Faso toppling a president closely aligned with France, the European powers’ influence is beginning to wane in yet another Sahel country. Read more

  • More Military for the Sahel (II)

    German Bundestag decides today on Mali troop deployment expansion. Experts criticize continued militarization of Sahel conflicts.

    BERLIN/BAMAKO/OUAGADOUGOU (Own report) - With today's decision to extend and expand the Bundeswehr's deployment in Mali, Berlin is once again boosting the region's militarization. The attempt to defeat Sahel insurgents and jihadis by force has been a failure since troops from Germany and other European countries began their mission in Mali in 2013. Since then, the war has been spreading because of socio-economic conflicts - first in Central Mali, then in Burkina Faso at Mali's southeastern border. Instead of taking preventive action with resolute economic support, Germany and other EU powers have continued to militarize the conflict. This has simply made matters worse, and only helped push the region closer to the brink of the abyss, experts note in view of developments leading to a growing number of ethnically motivated massacres in several Sahel countries. It was a European war, in the first place, that lit the spark to armed conflict in Mali. Read more

  • BERLIN/OUAGADOUGOU/BAMAKO (Own report) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced the expansion of German military activities in the Sahel. During her trip to the region - which began Wednesday in Burkina Faso and following her visit to the troops in Gao, northern Mali, will end today in Niger - Merkel declared that the Bundeswehr will dispatch another advisory group to Burkina Faso, boosting its presence in the Sahel. The EU should intensify its support of the "G5 Sahel" intervention force. Berlin - which participates with 850 soldiers in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) - is also discussing the possibility of changing MINUSMA's mandate from northern to central Mali, because the previously calm security situation has dramatically deteriorated. Massacres of members of the Peul language community have been reported, some of which were carried out with the involvement of Malian soldiers. The massacres are now spreading to Burkina Faso and experts warn that the clashes could escalate into a full-fledged ethnic war. Read more

  • BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO (Own report) - Nearly five years after the European military mission was launched in Mali, experts are describing the country's situation as a disaster and warning against Berlin and Paris' further militarization of the Sahel. Mali "has never" seen "such a level of violence" as "currently," says a former French diplomat. The regional conflicts cannot be solved militarily, explained the International Crisis Group, a pro-western think tank, using the example of a Burkinabe province at the border with Mali, where, even though it was possible to suppress jihadi unrest, for the time being, the conflict can again flare up at any time, because the reasons for the unrest have not been dealt with. Nevertheless, the German government supports the creation of an intervention force of the "G5 Sahel" group of countries, which launched its first military operation yesterday. Despite the disastrous consequences of militarization, the Bundeswehr is using the Mali mission as the focus of its PR campaign. Read more