[…] Like partners in Paris, Brussels and New York, Berlin notes “a rapidly deteriorating security situation” in the Sahel, despite significant outside engagement. But the conclusions drawn from this are not the same. France, in the wake of the Pau summit, has opted for a course of action that emphasizes the need for additional military means (Operation Barkhane and Task Force Takuba) and more local responsibility on the part of Sahelian governments. It remains unclear what Berlin proposes to stop the downward spiral.
The description of the new EUTM Mali mandate as “ambitious” is somewhat exaggerated. It may render EUTM marginally more effective, but this will in itself hardly be sufficient to induce substantial change in Mali and the region. At the same time, remarks by Minister of Defense Annegret KrampKarrenbauer suggest that the government is under no illusion about the duration of Germany’s engagement in the Sahel. If the parliamentary debate and recent media reporting are an indication, a steadily progressing sense of skepticism towards the engagement in the Sahel is palpable. This is partly shaped by the political disillusion about the limited achievements of military intervention, especially in Afghanistan. Indeed, Afghanistan casts a long shadow on political thinking as the Bundeswehr, with a contingent of currently 1,250 soldiers as part of ”Resolute Support”, has commenced the 21st year of its presence there. German anxieties about an impending déjà-vu are omnipresent, as the numerous allusions to Afghanistan in the debate about the Sahel suggest. Läs artikel