• The Last Stronghold in the War Zone (II)

    Following its failure in Mali, the EU prepares a military deployment in Niger. Until now, its president cooperated closely with the West, now Moscow’s influence grows also in his country.

    BERLIN/NIAMEY (Own report) – Following the total failure in Mali, the EU is now preparing a military operation in neighboring Niger. The decision on the deployment, recently announced by EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell, could already be made during the EU Foreign Ministers meeting in two weeks. Unlike Mali, whose cooperation with Russia is steadily growing, and Burkina Faso, which is also orienting more toward Moscow, Niger’s government, until now, loyally cooperated with the West. It already hosts numerous western troops, including a US base for drones and a Bundeswehr airlift base. Borrell had described the planned deployment as a “partnership mission” – acknowledging “that we have to be working with the Nigerian army on an equal basis.” Just recently Borrell had compared Europe to a “garden” and the “rest of the world” to a “jungle,” that the EU had to prevent from invading. As the EU seeks to entrench itself in Niger, that country, for its part, is beginning to open up to Russian influence – as had Mali, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic before. Read more

  • The Last Stronghold in the War Zone

    Berlin reorganizes the Bundeswehr’s assignment in the Sahel and prepares partial troop redeployment to Niger. Local protests against foreign miliary operations are increasing.

    NIAMEY/PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – The German Bundeswehr is preparing a partial troop withdrawal from Mali and a possible redeployment to Niger. Prior to today’s parliamentary debate on the continuation of the Sahel mission, it was reported that the German armed forces will terminate their European Union Training Mission (EUTM) participation in Mali. However, at the same time, there are plans to increase the German contingent in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) from 1,100 to 1,400 soldiers. The German government is also considering new measures in neighboring Niger. For years, Germany had supported Niger’s repressive and armed forces – initially to ward off refugees and now also to train Niger’s special forces. The Bundeswehr could possibly consolidate its activities in the framework of a “training mission Sahel,” according to German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. Whereas Mali and, increasingly also Burkina Faso, turn their backs on the West and lean toward Russia, Niger is considered the last pro-western stronghold within the actual Sahel war zone. But protests are also increasing there. 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