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Long-term stabilisation in Iraq – new Bundeswehr mission planned

15.03.2018 - Article

IS’ regime of terror has been stopped in Iraq, but the threat has not yet been eradicated. That is why the German Government tabled a motion in the German Bundestag on Thursday (15 March), requesting that the Bundeswehr continue working on stabilisation in Iraq for a further seven months.

Foreign Minister Maas in the German Bundestag
Foreign Minister Maas in the German Bundestag© dpa

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Members of the German Bundestag to support the mandate. He reported that the ongoing engagement had significantly reduced the number of IS fighters and largely dried up the terror group’s sources of finance. However, the group continued to pose a considerable threat, he said. “Reducing our role would send a completely wrong message,” he warned.

Fewer soldiers

In view of the military achievements, the plan is now to adapt the mission, with the number of soldiers deployed being reduced to 800 from a maximum of 1200. Naval protection for the French aircraft carrier will be discontinued. However, air-to-air refuelling and AWACS flights will be maintained under the Global Coalition against Daesh in order to prevent a resurgence by the terrorists.

Focus on civil aid

Overall, the focus is shifting from the military campaign against IS to long-term stabilisation in the country. The training of the Kurdish Peshmerga, who played a key role in defeating the IS terrorists in northern Iraq, is coming to an end. In its place, the Bundeswehr will help to train the regular Iraqi armed and security forces.
Civil engagement for reconstruction in Iraq is particularly important for the country’s long-term stabilisation. Since 2014, Germany has provided over a billion euros in civil aid to Iraq and recently pledged a further 350 million euros at an Iraq donor conference in Kuwait.
At seven months, the mandate’s duration is shorter than usual. The aim here is to be able to adapt flexibly to ongoing developments in an extremely unstable region. The German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs will now review the motion.

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