Up to 1100 German soldiers are currently stationed in Mali as part of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA to support the peace process and stabilize the general security situation. At the end of May the mission mandate of the German Bundestag expires, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is advocating an extension. Among the German public, Bundeswehr missions within the framework of a UN mandate are generally regarded as legitimate, safe and peace-promoting, but at the same time very little is known about the mission in Mali. In fact, since the late 1990s UN Peacekeeping Missions have evolved from the traditional monitoring of existing ceasefire agreements to robust combat operations aimed at separating armed groups, restoring the state monopoly on the use of force and protecting the civilian population - a reaction to the failed blue helmet missions in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. In addition to problematic peace policy implications, this also entails an increased risk for soldiers who are exposed to targeted attacks. With more than 100 dead, MINUSMA is considered the most dangerous of all UN Peacekeeping Missions, without any noticeable progress in the Malian peace process.
In the PRIF spotlight "Robustes Peacekeeping in Mali. MINUSMA zwischen Gewalteskalation und Friedensanstrengungen" Alisa Rieth examines the policy implications arising from the more robust UN Peacekeeping mandates and explains why Germany should critically review the way it participates in the peace mission in Mali.