BAMAKO/BERLIN | | mali

BAMAKO/BERLIN (Own report) - Serious accusations raised by the United Nations against the Malian army are also implicating the Bundeswehr and German policy. According to a recent UN report, Mali’s armed forces have been massacring civilians since some time - within the framework of its counter-terrorist operations in central Mali. Since over five years, EU troops, particularly from the Bundeswehr, have been training Malian soldiers. The Bundeswehr claims that "content and guidelines of humanitarian international law" are an "important component of its training concept." The development in central Mali exemplifies how state discrimination and social conflicts foster jihadism - and how anti-jihadi military action, favored by Berlin and the EU - in Mali only leads to a steady deterioration of the situation and an increase in brutality. According to observers, the situation in Mali has become significantly worse since the German-European intervention began five years ago. more…

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO | | maliburkinaniger

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. more…

BERLIN/N'DJAMENA/BAMAKO | | malitschadnigeria

BERLIN/N'DJAMENA/BAMAKO (Own report) - Berlin is using today's visit of Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari to enhance its rapidly growing military influence in West Africa. Chancellor Angela Merkel's trip to Africa early this week has already revealed Germany's growing military importance on the African continent. According to reports, a "change" can already be noted, particularly in Mali. Traditionally within France's exclusive sphere of influence, the EU, "fundamentally under German leadership," is now increasingly determining that country's development. The German government is also expanding the Bundeswehr's activities and the supply of military hardware to Niger and Chad, along with the construction of a military base in Niger's capital Niamey. Berlin is also seeking to obtain influence in the war against Boko Haram in Nigeria. The first accords on support measures had already been reached with Nigeria last year. Germany is enhancing its network of influence in West Africa by increasing the deployment of expeditionary troops, the establishment of military bases and by supplying military aid. This could possibly reduce France's traditional political and military predominance in its former colonies. more…

BERLIN/BAMAKO | | mali

BERLIN/BAMAKO (Own report) - The German government has taken the decision to expand the German military mission in Mali to the north of the country, plagued with terrorist attacks. Following the deployment of German UN Blue Helmet troops (MINUSMA) in Gao in northern Mali, German soldiers will also be training units of the Malian army. In the north of that country, there are often terrorist attacks on convoys of foreign troops. Most recently, three French soldiers were killed in a bombing last Tuesday. Observers are warning that, due to particularities of the peace agreement signed in the summer of 2015, the training program in the north could benefit future Touareg insurgencies. Three years after the beginning of the intervention in Mali, the situation is showing clear similarities to Afghanistan. One can hardly speak in terms of a "stabilization" of the theatre of operations, but rather, as reported by a Malian intelligence agency, of the "terrorist threat" spreading to the center and the south of the country. Attacks are being carried out not only against the forces of MINUSMA but also those of the EU's EUTM Mali. more…

KABUL/BERLIN/BAMAKO | | maliafghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN/BAMAKO (Own report) - Berlin is legitimizing German military intervention by alleging it is to combat the causes of fleeing. The Bundeswehr must undertake operations in Mali, "so that people will no longer have to flee the violence and hopelessness," claimed Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, early this week during her visit in Mali's capital Bamako. She is using the current refugee crisis in Germany to arouse sympathy for the Bundeswehr's interventions. However, with its aggressive foreign policy, Germany is actively helping create the causes for people to flee. A prime example is the Federal Republic of Germany's Afghan policy since the 1980s. Together with other western governments, Bonn had exacerbated the Afghan civil war with its support for the Mujahidin. Millions of Afghans had to flee the country and Afghanistan has never recovered from its political, economic, and social devastation. The Bundeswehr's deployment in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 and whose main mission was ended last year, has provoked a new wave of refugees. more…

BERLIN/PARIS/BANGUI/BAMAKO | | malifrankreich

BERLIN/PARIS/BANGUI/BAMAKO (Own report) - The EU has announced a military intervention into the Central African Republic. Last Monday, EU foreign ministers in Brussels decided to soon send soldiers from several EU countries to Bangui to support French troops in that country. The Bundeswehr will most likely participate with transport aircraft and a MedEvac Airbus. The German Foreign Minster has also suggested the possibility of expanding the deployment of German military in Mali. This is where the Franco-German Brigade is due to make its first major deployment. But the power struggle between Germany and France continues to loom in the background. Berlin wants to use the mission in Mali to break France's exclusive influence in the West African francophone countries. Members of the Bundeswehr have announced that "over the next few years" Germany will have "to deal with Africa, particularly its north and center." Even before ending its (partial) withdrawal from Afghanistan, Germany is already focusing on a new intervention - in line with the global offensive Berlin's foreign policy establishment has been pushing for with growing intensity since last autumn. more…

BAMAKO/BERLIN | | mali

BAMAKO/BERLIN (Own report) - With its establishment of a permanent logistical air base in Dakar, Senegal, the German Bundeswehr is expanding its role in the war in Mali. German Air Force Transall planes, taking off from this base, will transport troops and material for future combat in northern Mali. German government advisors are predicting that Mali is entering "a long phase of instability." According to a new analysis published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the Islamist militias, who, over the past few days, have retreated from Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, will probably continue the war with a kind of "guerilla tactic." The Islamist militias grew following the overthrow of the Gadhafi government and the collapse of state structures in southern Libya. To limit their maneuverability in the Sahara, the EU seeks to reinforce the sealing of the borders in the North African desert regions. The EU is therefore planning to establish missions in Libya and Niger. Berlin is considering German participation. German enterprises have an interest in the lucrative fortifications of border installations. more…

BAMAKO/BERLIN | | mali

BAMAKO/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin has pledged millions in new contributions for the war in Mali. The German Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the government would provide about US $20 million for the Malian armed forces and an African intervention force, as well as other aid in the form of transport flights. At the same time, Germany will "emphatically" seek to exert political influence, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle announced. According to reports, other western countries and Berlin's close cooperation partners have played a significant role in enabling Islamist forces to take control of northern Mali. Malian Special Forces, for example, trained in counterterrorism skills by the US military, had changed sides and joined the insurgents soon after the Tuareg conflict began in early 2010, significantly strengthening these rebels. Berlin's close cooperation partners, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are supporting Islamist militias. Already over the past few years, they had been establishing Islamist structures in northern Mali, which now benefit Islamist militias to some extent. Both countries cooperate with Germany and the rest of the West not only economically but also in the Syrian war. more…

Desert War

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO | | malifrankreich

BERLIN/PARIS/BAMAKO (Own report) - The German Foreign Minister has confirmed Berlin's readiness to become involved in the war in Mali. To his French counterpart, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Guido Westerwelle offered Germany's "political, logistical, medical, and humanitarian" support for the intervention in France's former colony. However, the German Minister of Defense, Thomas de Maizière, declared that there would be conditions to be met. Only when "the prerequisites are clarified and fulfilled" would Berlin be able to take part in the military mission. These statements from the German government show evidence of a dual strategy. On the one hand, Berlin is insisting on concessions to strengthen its position in French-dominated West Africa, and on the other, a German participation is supposed to thwart French-British unilateralism, as in the case of Libya. Berlin feels threatened by this sort of unilateralism, because since some time, Paris and London have been strongly enhancing their military cooperation, leading some in the German capital to suspect - not without reason - that this could be a means to escape Germany's EU predomination, at least in the domain of military policy. In the meantime, the war in Mali has intensified after only a few days. more…

BAMAKO/PARIS/BERLIN | | mali

BAMAKO/PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government has announced that the Bundeswehr will intervene in Mali. Following Chancellor Merkel's declarations on Monday, Foreign Minister Westerwelle confirmed yesterday, Tuesday, that Berlin wants to "stabilize" Mali and therefore send soldiers, to train Mali's military for the war against the insurgents in the North of this West African country. Since the beginning of the year, the Tuareg militia has controlled northern Mali. A militant Islamist faction soon took over the command of the militia. This development is a direct consequence of NATO's war on Libya, which destroyed the fragile equilibrium in the economically precarious desert-bordering regions. Disregarding this fact, Berlin reacts to this disastrous situation, caused in Mali by western aggression, by calling for another intervention. As in Somalia, the war against Mali's insurgents is supposed to be waged by African troops with western contingents stationed at a safe distance, preparing to carry out concrete combat assignments. more…