While the Bundestag committee on Afghanistan and the foreign missions is taking place and what lessons should be drawn from it, this is now becoming topic at the same time with the question of the Bundeswehr mission in Mali and the Sahel. While Defense Minister Lambrecht wants to withdraw the Bundeswehr, even though it is being held hostage in Mali, Foreign Minister Baerbock is in favor of maintaining the German Mali mission – no matter who still wants it – whether in Germany or Mali. The fundamental question of why the Malian military government prefers to bring in the Russians in the form of the Wagner group as fighting power in its country is not addressed at all, perhaps also that they hope this will Mali stability from the Islamists, because they hope for nothing from the German and French military militarily in this field anymore and their governments politically.
„Traffic light government worried: Germany is not allowed to fly 140 soldiers out of Mali – Russians are landing instead
Around 140 Bundeswehr soldiers are stuck in Mali after the French pulled out. Suddenly Russian troops approach. The traffic light federal government turns vehemently to the UN.
Munich/Gao – What’s going on in Mali? What is Moscow ruler Vladimir Putin planning in the West African country? On Tuesday (August 16) – one day after the French withdrawal from the camp in Gao – German and British soldiers from the UN mission „Minusma“ observed the arrival of apparently Russian forces at the airport in the Malian city. An estimated 30 suspected Russian soldiers were accompanied by an EMB 314 Super Tucano and L39 Albatros ground attack aircraft. Russian forces arrived in Gao: Traffic light government worried about Bundeswehr soldiers in Mali The situation is apparently coming to a head after a planned flight by German Bundeswehr soldiers had to be stopped again. Background: German mountain troops were to be transferred to Mali to protect Gao Airport. It is the same airfield where Russian troops probably arrived. And through which an exchange of the German contingent is supposed to take place. However, it remained unclear on Wednesday (August 17) whether a rotation of German soldiers planned by the Bundeswehr for Thursday (August 18) would get the green light from the military rulers in the capital Bamaku. The Federal Foreign Office said that on Tuesday, 16 troop-contributing nations handed over a letter to the United Nations (UN) in New York, demanding that the UN „do even more to ensure that working conditions in Mali are now normalized again as quickly as possible“. A spokesman for the State Department said: „This is our top priority“. The Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defense are „working together at full speed to ensure that these flights can be realized for our soldiers“. The arrival of Russian uniformed forces near the camp has „changed the mission environment“.
As Der Spiegel writes, around 140 German soldiers are now stuck in the West African country, whose normal deployment time with the UN mission would have ended. In the past few days, the Ministry of Defense had already announced that the German Bundeswehr would suspend – i.e. interrupt – its deployment in Mali until further notice. Security concerns after the French withdrawal were cited as the reason. The Malian interim government under President Assimi Goïta, a military officer who seized power in May 2021, is now openly collaborating with Russia. It was only in May that the German Bundestag increased the German contingent for the UN mission from 1,100 to 1,400 soldiers. Around 1,000 Bundeswehr soldiers are currently said to be in Mali. (pm/dpa) “
Ex-NATO and Bundeswehr General Domroese jr, who also sits on the investigative committee for Afghanistan and the lessons learned from it for German foreign missions, calls in a podcast on Hessischer Rundfunk that the Bundesehr should be withdrawn from Mali to be saved by relocating it to Niger. But would this solve much deeper problems and constellations or not just be an attempt to breathe life into an undead zombie. Especially since Germany is mainly busy in Europe because of Russia and the Ukraine war and can perhaps send the frigate Bavaria and 6 Eurofighters towards the Indo-Pacific, not even manage its ring exchanges which has now resulted in South Korea delivering the necessary weapons for the NATO countries and the Ukraine, despite the Bundeswehr special fund NATO’s 2% mark is still not met, just as the entire Bundeswehr will need a few more years to even develop a serious combat capability on the European central front.
But moving to Niger is useless. Rather, one has to look at the overall picture in Africa and what division of labor the West can still undertake there, or whether it is still acting as a unified force. At the moment it’s more of a retreat and the Bundeswehr seems like Honnecker in the GDR, the last remaining stock that can then switch off the light. .The USA are withdrawing to the sub-Saharan South, the French are withdrawing completely from Mali. A shift to Niger is useless, especially since the only thing that could change is that Germany recognizes the military government in Mali and should no longer share the consensus of values between Ecowas and the West. But Mali is just one building element of the Sahel and the Sahel is just one building element in Africa, and what is happening in Mali is informal hostage-taking and sabotage of the Bundeswehr. When countries like the military government in Mali don’t want the Bundeswehr and thus Germany, especially since they don’t do combat missions either, but were more of a supporting accessory for the French who are now withdrawing, it’s just a desperate and symbolic holding action by diehards, even if German Foreign Minister Baerbock says „Now more than ever“, while Lambrecht understands better that one is not wanted there and especially when Germany is contributing nothing substantially, one should rather ask oneself why the Malis want Wagner, which in their sense of stability compared to the West ights the Islamists actively and effectivly. Nor would it be any better with a shift to Niger when the French say goodbye and the US migrate south, sub-Saharan as Blinken says. Therefore, as a reading tip, our last GR article on the new Africa strategy of the USA, to make it understandable: Bundeswehr out of Mali! That should at least have been recognized as a lesson from Afghanistan. New US Africa Strategy: Focusing on a Bulwark in Southern Sub-Sharan Africa?