Anti-IS Mandate: The Green Dilemma |

Status: 12.01.2022 02:48 a.m.

Today the Federal Cabinet wants to decide to extend the Iraqi mandate of the Bundeswehr. It was changed to allow the Greens in the Bundestag to approve. Because a rejection would be a disaster for the traffic lights.

By Kai Küstner, ARD capital studio

So far, the Greens have left no doubt about their rejection of the Bundeswehr’s anti-IS mission. In October the group voted unanimously against it. At the beginning of 2020, when the situation for the German troops worsened after the killing of the Iranian General Soleimani in Iraq, Annalena Baerbock described the continuation of the mission as “simply irresponsible”.

Kai Küstner
ARD capital studio

Now the Green politician is foreign minister and is campaigning for an extension of the mission. According to the parliamentary group, the chances that the Greens will now say “yes” in the Bundestag are not bad. “The planned mandate differs in key points from those of the previous government,” said the Green foreign policy expert Jürgen Trittin dem ARD capital studio. The clear restriction of the operational area to Iraq “turns a mandate that is contrary to international law into one that conforms to international law”.

Operations in Syria are excluded

The bridge that Annalena Baerbock is building as the Green Foreign Minister of her party essentially consists of one decisive sentence: “This is how Syria is excluded as an operational area,” says Baerbock in a joint letter with SPD Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to the Bundestag ARD capital studio is present.

Specifically, that means: In the past, the Germans also moved into Syrian airspace during their surveillance flights. The Bundeswehr’s A400M aircraft, which refuel allied jets, also flew over Syria. Although this has not been the case for a long time, it is now officially excluded. The CDU defense politician Henning Otte believes this is a mistake.

In view of the poisonous goose operations by Syria’s President Assad against his own people, I cannot understand the actions of the SPD and the Greens, who always stand up for human rights.

Doubts about a fundamental change in the mandate

Another pillar of the bridge for the Greens parliamentary group on the way to a possible approval: Even if the personnel limit of 500 soldiers for the future Bundeswehr mandate will not be affected – the government wants the mission, as the letter says, “in the review the coming mandate period comprehensively and inclusive “.

The traffic light has promised this for all missions abroad and should therefore also apply to the anti-IS mission. Critics doubt whether the changes to the mandate are really as profound, as “clear” as the federal government has presented. But the adjustments should serve to help the Greens over their previous concerns under international law.

Union thinks the government is too hesitant

In any case, the first traffic light vote on a Bundeswehr foreign mission is a decisive one. Should the coalition fail to achieve a majority of its own here, it would be a heavy defeat. The Bundestag should deal with the changed mandate for the first time on Friday. Already then it will become clear whether the Greens are ready to cross the built bridge.

From the point of view of the opposition politician Henning Otte, time is also running out: the traffic lights bring the bill to the Bundestag far too late. Otte also does not understand why the mandate should only be extended by nine months: “This only shows that the traffic light is internally torn and unable to follow a clear security policy course.”

In the fight against the so-called “Islamic State”, the Bundeswehr is currently represented in the region, i.e. in Jordan and Iraq, with around 280 soldiers. They are involved in UN and NATO missions, but also outside of them as part of the “anti-IS coalition”. The Germans carry out air surveillance, refuel Allied aircraft and take part in advising Iraqi security forces.

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