The terrorist organisation “Islamic State” remains a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria and beyond the region. The organisation has reorganised and gone underground and continues to carry out attacks in Iraq and Syria. A resurgence of the terrorist organisation would have far‑reaching consequences for the region and impact security in Europe. The mandate for the deployment of the Bundeswehr within the framework of the Global Coalition against Daesh and the NATO mission in Iraq is therefore being extended to January 2022. That was what the German Bundestag decided today. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented on the German Bundestag’s extension of the mandate to counter IS:
The so-called “Islamic State” terrorist organisation remains dangerous. IS is still actively organising underground in Iraq and Syria, and is still carrying out attacks. It has taken advantage of the fact that, during the pandemic, there has to some extent been a drop-off in pressure from its pursuers. In order to guarantee security in the region and here in Europe, we must do everything we possibly can to prevent a resurgence of IS. It is therefore important that the German Bundestag today decided to extend the Bundeswehr mandate.
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. Germany also supports the fight against the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) within the framework of the Global Coalition against Daesh with, among other measures, air‑to‑air refuelling. You can find out more about Germany’s mission on the website of the Federal Ministry of Defence.
Its military contribution is only one part of Germany’s comprehensive engagement on the ground, however.
Iraq: Supporting stabilisation, coming to terms with the past and reconciliation
As co‑chair of the Stabilisation Working Group of the Global Coalition against Daesh, Germany bears a special responsibility for stabilising areas liberated from IS. The Federal Government supports the efforts to promote stability in Iraq to the tune of almost 40 million euro annually. A key part of this is the Funding Facility for Stabilization of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which was set up with German support for Iraq. The Federal Foreign Office contributed 10 million euro to this fund in 2019 and plans to provide a similar amount this year. The objective remains to transfer responsibility for the further stabilisation of the country to the Iraqi Government in the medium term and to advise it on this important task.
In addition, Germany is supporting, among other things, the establishment of a police force enjoying good relations with the country’s citizens, the training of Iraqi specialists in the clearance of booby traps, bringing IS crimes to justice and psychosocial support for victims of human rights violations – to assist the return of the countless people displaced by IS and with a view to normalising the situation in the areas formerly controlled by the terrorist militia. From 2020 onwards, the Federal Foreign Office will also support measures to de‑radicalise people thought to be affiliated to IS.
In total, Germany has provided civilian support (including humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and stabilisation) to the tune of more than 2.2 billion euro since the beginning of the fight against IS in Iraq.
Syria: Stabilising areas liberated from IS
People are still suffering from the impacts of IS’ reign of terror especially in north‑eastern Syria. Their homes and important infrastructure have been destroyed and opportunities for earning a living are few and far between. The Federal Foreign Office is supporting projects to stabilise the liberated areas in order to enable them to make a fresh start and thus prevent a resurgence of IS. The Syria Recovery Trust Fund provides people with important basic services such as electricity and water. Other projects help to increase agricultural productivity, ensure food security and open up new economic prospects. Another important priority is to strengthen social cohesion and participation by supporting local dialogue and mediation projects. The total volume of Germany’s annual stabilisation engagement in north‑eastern Syria amounts to almost 20 million euro.
Since the beginning of the war in Syria, Germany has provided civilian support (humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, stabilisation) in Syria and its neighbouring countries totalling more than eight billion euro.
Humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons in Iraq and Syria
The United Nations estimates that 4.1 million people in Iraq are in need of humanitarian assistance. Some 1.3 million internally displaced persons have not yet been able to return as it is not safe for them in their home regions or their livelihoods there have been destroyed, for example. In Syria, approximately 11 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance, both as a result of IS’ reign of terror and, of course, in the face of the war, which has now been going on for almost ten years.
Germany is one of the world’s biggest donors of humanitarian assistance and is providing over two billion euro for humanitarian assistance measures worldwide in 2020. Around 700 million euro of this amount are intended to support people in Iraq, Syria and neighbouring countries also affected by the war in Syria.