Germany and Iraq: Bilateral relations

23.12.2021 - Article

Germany and Iraq enjoy close and friendly relations that date back to well before the founding of the modern Iraqi state. Following the regime change in 2003, full diplomatic relations were re‑established with the accreditation of ambassadors in Baghdad and Berlin on 24 and 28 August 2004. Germany has also maintained a Consulate General in Erbil since 2009.

In late 2017, control was successfully regained over the territory that had been held by the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) in various parts of Iraq. The organisation has, however, gone underground and remains a threat. The Bundeswehr has participated since 2015 in the Global Coalition against Daesh’s Operation Inherent Resolve. Germany currently provides air-to-air refuelling, AWACS aerial surveillance as part of the NATO Mission, command staff, and capacity-building for the regular Iraqi forces and security forces. Since March 2020, Germany has contributed under an additional Bundestag mandate to capacity-building as part of the NATO Mission Iraq and has provided air transportation and radar for aerial surveillance purposes in Iraq. The mandate for the current military engagement is effective until 31 January 2022.

Thanks to the international community including Germany, which as the second-largest bilateral donor has contributed around 3 billion euro since 2013, large parts of the territory liberated from IS have been cleared of mines, and basic infrastructure and public services have been restored. About 4.9 million of the 6.1 million internally displaced persons have returned to their homes.

The traditionally close economic ties between Germany and Iraq could make a significant contribution to Iraq’s further economic development. Germany provides support for the German Liaison Offices for Industry and Commerce in Erbil and Baghdad. The Joint Economic Commission is co-chaired by the two countries’ economics ministers.

Germany and Iraq also cooperate closely in the cultural and education sectors. Each year, 500 Iraqi students and academics come to Germany through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The DAAD also promotes cooperation between German and Iraqi universities. This includes 14 university partnerships. Since 2011, the DAAD has had an Information Centre in Erbil. The Goethe-Institut has also had a branch in Erbil since 2010, and offers German language courses in Erbil and Baghdad. It plans to open an office in Baghdad in due course. Erbil is also the chosen location for a Franco-German cultural institute.

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