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Germany continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iraqi Government in the fight against IS

Mine clearance in Iraq

Mine clearance in Iraq, © Sean Sutton/MAG

28.01.2022 - Article

The Bundestag decided today to extend Germany’s military contribution towards the long-term stabilisation of Iraq as well as the fight against the IS terrorist organisation – the so-called Islamic State.

Support for the stabilisation of Iraq and the regional fight against the IS terrorist organisation

IS remains a major threat to people in Iraq, the region and beyond. The terrorist organisation operates from the underground and is able to execute even more complex attacks in Iraq and Syria. Its resurgence would have far‑reaching consequences for the region and impact security in Europe and around the world.

At the request of and in conjunction with partners in Iraq, NATO allies and within the context of the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, Germany’s engagement therefore continues to be of great importance. Together with its partners, Germany wants to consolidate what has been achieved to date with regard to stabilisation, prevent the resurgence of IS and further promote reconciliation in Iraq. The mandate for the deployment of the Bundeswehr within the framework of the NATO mission in Iraq and the Global Coalition against Daesh has therefore been extended until the end of October 2022. That is what the German Bundestag decided today.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for the amended mandate to be extended in the debate during the first reading in the Bundestag. She stated that the mission would now focus on Iraq and that Syria would no longer be part of the mission’s area of operations. She went on to say that this mandate provided for a comprehensive and inclusive evaluation of the mission in the forthcoming mandate period. Thirdly, she said it was important to remember that Iraq still needed our support, both military and civilian.

The mandate is focused on building up the capacities of the regular Iraqi armed forces and security forces and supporting Iraq in establishing sustainable security structures within the framework of NATO’s mission in Iraq and the Global Coalition against Daesh. Furthermore, Germany is supporting the fight against IS within the Global Coalition against Daesh through air-to-air refuelling and airlift, air reconnaissance and the capture of aerial images of the operational situation. You can find out more about Germany’s mission on the website of the Federal Ministry of Defence.

However, the military contribution is only one part of Germany’s comprehensive engagement on the ground as part of the networked approach.

Iraq: Supporting long-term stabilisation, addressing the past and reconciliation

Mine clearance in Iraq
Mine clearance in Iraq© Sean Sutton/MAG

As co-chair of the Stabilisation Working Group of the Global Coalition against Daesh as well as the Stabilisation Task Force, Germany has assumed a high degree of political responsibility for the stabilisation of areas liberated from IS, something which is appreciated by its partners. Since 2013, the Federal Foreign Office has implemented stabilisation measures with a total volume of around 277 million euro in Iraq, particularly in areas liberated from IS. A large portion of these funds were deployed via the Funding Facility for Stabilization, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) fund set up for Iraq with Germany’s support. In the longer term, responsibility for stabilisation measures implemented in this context is to be handed over to the Iraqi Government.

In addition, Germany is supporting, among other things, the establishment of a citizen-friendly police force, mine clearance and the training of Iraqi specialists for this important work, the prosecution of IS crimes, reconciliation processes within Iraq, psychosocial support for victims of human rights violations as well as the return, reintegration and deradicalisation of persons believed to have ties to IS. All in all, these measures are intended to boost the population’s confidence in the Iraqi state, foster the return of the remaining persons displaced within Iraq by IS (more than three quarters of them were able to return, partly thanks to Germany’s engagement), as well as avert the resurgence of IS by inclusively addressing crimes and stabilise Iraq on a long-term basis.

In total, Germany has provided civilian support (including humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and stabilisation) to the tune of almost 3 billion euro since the beginning of the fight against IS in Iraq.

Syria: Stabilising areas liberated from IS remains vital

The threat posed by IS does not stop at the Iraqi border. Germany is therefore working closely with its partners in the Global Coalition against Daesh to also implement civilian measures in areas in north-eastern Syria liberated from IS. The aim is to consolidate what has been achieved so far in the fight against IS and to prevent its resurgence. In particular, this includes deradicalisation and reintegration measures for family members of former IS fighters, support for the home communities in Syria which take them in, as well as the improvement of living conditions, for example by rebuilding destroyed supply infrastructure and ensuring better food security and healthcare. Having provided 110 million euro for stabilisation measures since 2017 and pledged around 25 million euro for strengthening resilience, Germany is the second largest donor within the Global Coalition against Daesh in north-eastern Syria and is playing a leading role there.

Humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons in Iraq and Syria

The United Nations estimates that 2.5 million people in Iraq are in need of humanitarian assistance. Just under one million internally displaced persons have not yet been able to return home. This is because it is not safe for them in their home regions or their livelihoods there have been destroyed. After almost 11 years of conflict, around 13 million people in Syria are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Germany is the world’s second largest donor of humanitarian assistance and provided around 2.6 billion euro for this in 2021. Around 750 million euro of this amount were earmarked in 2021 for the support of people in Iraq, Syria and neighbouring countries also affected by the conflict in Syria

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