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Germany To Withdraw Troops From Mali By 2024

    Germany To Withdraw Troops From Mali By 2024
    Last updated: 1 week ago
    Image credit: AFP/Getty Images [via Politico]

    Facts

    • Germany announced on Tuesday its intent to withdraw its troops from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) starting in the summer of 2023. It expects the process to be completed a year later, reportedly by May 2024. [1]
    • According to spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit, the government will ask parliament for a one-year extension to the mission's mandate for the last time in May 2023 to bring the operation "to a structured end after 10 years," ahead of Mali's planned elections in February 2024. [2]
    • The gradual withdrawal represents a compromise between German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who supports continued presence in Mali, and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, whose ministry has been skeptical about extending the mission. [3]
    • This comes after the UK announced it would withdraw its troops earlier than planned. It also follows France's decision to wind down its participation in the UN mission as Mali's military junta has reportedly become more hostile towards the West and is working with Russia-affiliated mercenaries to help maintain security. [4]
    • MINUSMA was established in 2013 to back foreign and local troops fighting Islamist militants and has about 12K military personnel positioned in the country. Germany has deployed around 1K troops mostly to the northern town of Gao, where Russian forces have recently arrived. [5]
    • Meanwhile, the heads of state of West African nations, under the "Accra Initiative," met Tuesday with representatives from the West African ECOWAS bloc, the EU, Britain, and France to discuss how to protect Gulf of Guinea countries from jihadist conflict in the Sahel. [6]
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    Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Germany's decision to withdraw from Mali is only logical given the Malian junta's unwillingness to cooperate with the UN. Moreover, the activities of the nebulous Wagner paramilitaries are contributing to the increasing destabilization of the country. This, coupled with Bamako's hostility toward the West, has made further cooperation to successfully combat jihadism impossible.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The MINUSMA mission has failed to combat Islamist terrorism and has long been considered a failure comparable to Afghanistan. The Western-dominated mission has also been weaponized to curb Russia's growing influence in the country in the name of "human rights" and to undermine Mali's national sovereignty. Germany's withdrawal is another defeat for neocolonialism, in which Berlin has been complicit.

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