Traffic light coalition: Iraq mandate of the Bundeswehr to be changed

Status: 11.01.2022 12:39 p.m.

The traffic light coalition wants to extend the anti-IS campaign. Syria is to be excluded as an operational area – probably also as a concession to the Greens.

By Kai Küstner, ARD capital studio

The German government is planning to extend the Bundeswehr’s Iraq mandate by nine months. At the same time, Syria is to be excluded as an operational area in the future. That emerges from a letter from Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, which the ARD capital studio is present.

Kai Küstner
ARD capital studio

The letter to the Bundestag speaks of “significant adjustments” to the mandate. “So Syria is excluded as an operational area,” they say. This is, without a doubt, one of the key phrases of the letter. This is also intended to enable the Green Group to give its consent. They had recently voted against the Bundeswehr mission in Iraq in the Bundestag.

However, if the Ampel-Coalition had problems getting its own majority when the mandate was extended for the first time, that would be seen as a serious defeat.

The Bundeswehr is helping the international coalition against the so-called Islamic State (the anti-IS coalition) in the region with aerial reconnaissance. This should continue for Iraq. For Syria, however, no longer apply in the future.

Mandate upper limit remains unchanged

According to the will of the federal government, the upper limit of the mandate should remain unchanged at 500 soldiers. However, the term of the mandate is only supposed to be nine months, so it would then last until the end of October.

In addition, the government wants, as it says in the letter, to “comprehensively and comprehensively review” in the coming mandate period. The traffic light had promised an evaluation of all Bundeswehr missions in the coalition agreement. The Federal Cabinet is to decide on the extension and change of the mandate tomorrow. Then it would be the turn of the Bundestag. The key question then is: How do the Greens behave?

The Bundeswehr is currently represented in the region with around 280 soldiers. Most of them are stationed in Jordan, but some are also in Iraq itself. The Germans support the international mission with air surveillance and refueling, but also by training and advising Iraqi security forces.

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