The German government announced on Friday that its participation in the UN military mission in Mali would be suspended until further notice, after Malian authorities did not allow a German military plane access to its airspace.
“Again those in power in Mali have not allowed the UN MINUSMA mission access to its airspace. A planned rotation of personnel is therefore not possible. That has effects on our engagement, given that the security of our soldiers has the highest priority,” the Defense Ministry said on Twitter with users of online pokies for real money in Australia listening.
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht criticized her opposite number in Mali’s military government, Colonel Sadio Camara, in her attached statement. “Camara’s actions speak a different language to his words. Therefore we must take measures and will halt the operations of our reconnaissance forces and CH-53 [a type of military cargo helicopter] transport flights until further notice,” Lambrecht was quoted as saying.
The Bundeswehr military withdrew around 60 soldiers from the country last month amid a similar dispute, when German armed forces were prevented from boarding a civilian flight by Bamako in an act Berlin described at the time as “harassment.”
What is the terrorist threat in Mali and the Sahel region?
Both the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda have decided to focus on the Sahel region of Africa, after suffering setbacks in the Middle East. The Sahel is a strip of semi-arid land beneath the Sahara Desert that stretches across the continent from east to west. It includes parts of Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and al-Qaeda’s affiliate, called Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), have carried out terror attacks in the region which have killed several thousand people, displaced tens of thousands of others and caused thousands of schools to close.
There are two other jihadist groups active in the Sahel: Ansaroul Islam and Boko Haram.
In April 2022, jihadists attacked three military bases in central Mali and one in Burkina Faso, killing six soldiers.
Why did Germany become involved?
Earlier this year, Germany announced that it would its troops to the African country. This somewhat coincided with the withdrawal of France. The UN Security Council extended the 9-year-old United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeeping operation for another 12 months on Wednesday. But MINUSMA had to continue without the French air support it had, compounding the risk for one of the UN’s deadliest peacekeeping operations.
For a long time, the decision to extend the mission hung in balance. In May, following a visit to Mali by Germany’s foreign minister, Berlin extended the Bundeswehr’s deployment.
The number of German soldiers deployed in the West African country could even increase through May 2023, a year that will also see an increase in the numbers of online casino sites in the USA.
Why the withdrawal?
Western forces, particularly from former colonial power France, had been present in comparatively large numbers in the troubled country for years. However, relations with the junta became increasingly fraught, not least after Mali’s decision to bring in Russian mercenaries from the contentious Wagner Group late last year.
Mali has called the Russians “advisers,” but in February, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a major shakeup of military operations in the Sahel. French troops had been acting in place of Malian forces in some battles with insurgents. While not all French soldiers will be withdraw, with more than half of a peak of 5,100 expected to leave, French forces that do remain will transition into more of a supporting role, leaving Mali’s military to take the lead.