Germany denies military support to France
France has requested Germany’s help regarding military aid in the Sahel zone twice – and received two rejections. As European News reports, although the number of Islamist terrorist attacks in the region has recently increased significantly, the German government has refused two specific requests from Paris in the past few months for military support for the French military operation “Barkhane” in the Sahel zone.
Germany’s Ministry of Defense replied to a request from France for support in setting up a special forces unit, which was also addressed to other European nations. At the same time, Germany’s government acknowledged that “the current security situation in the Sahel is characterized by a threat from jihadist groups and organized crime.” Jihadists had “extensive freedom of movement” and could “act without restriction.” The operational value of the joint task force of the G-5 states was currently low. For example, “despite the international support, the Malian security forces regularly reached their limits in performing their extensive tasks.”
The French call for military support was rejected against the background of increasing destabilization of the Sahel region by Islamist terror groups and the demand by Germany’s Defense Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer for a strengthening of the “Franco-German tandem” and for Germany’s greater engagement in the world she said recently in a speech.
Chancellor Merkel also spoke in the Bundestag at the end of November that the Sahel zone was one of the “most serious problems of our security” and that she was working with France to achieve a more robust UN mandate. In fact, the number of terrorist attacks by jihadist groups such as the so-called Islamic State or organizations close to al-Qaeda has increased significantly in recent weeks.
In Burkina Faso, more than 130 people were killed during the Christmas days. In mid-December, 71 soldiers died in an attack on a military camp in the West African crisis state of Niger. On November 18, more than 30 Malian soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack. In the collision of two helicopters, 13 French soldiers who fought as part of the “Barkhane” military operation lost their lives at the end of November.
France is fighting “Barkhane” against Islamist terrorists in Mali and other countries in the Sahel region. It has around 4,500 soldiers. Up to 1100 Bundeswehr soldiers are also deployed in Mali, who are part of the EU training mission “EUTM Mali” and the UN mission “Minusma” to stabilize the country.
The mission is considered the most dangerous deployment of the Bundeswehr. Several armed groups are active in the countries of the Sahel region, an area that extends south of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, some of whom have sworn allegiance to the terrorist organizations IS or al-Qaida.