Against the will of the Iraqi parliament, the Bundeswehr mission in Iraq is to be extended. This also contradicts announcements of the SPD. This project appears imperialist and presumptuous – and it once again makes “Russian interference” seem harmless compared to that of the West. In addition, the Erosion of democracy is also being promoted in Germany.
In January, the Iraqi parliament adopted a Resolution calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country. According to the media, the Resolution leaves nothing to be desired in terms of clarity: the government is asked to withdraw its request for assistance in the “fight against terrorism”.
Federal government slaps Iraqi Parliament
A recent decision by the German government must be felt like a slap in the face, as reported by the media: a withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Iraq is denied, the decision of the Iraqi parliament is simply not perceived in Berlin. On Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet launched a supplementary mandate for the deployment of up to 700 German soldiers, which partially redefined the tasks for the soldiers and the legal basis – there is no talk of a withdrawal here.
Instead, an attempt is made to hide the refused withdrawal behind confusing changes to the mandate and the corresponding wording. Thus, it is expected that the Bundeswehr will end its Tornado flights. The “Tagesschau” makes the misleading statement: “Bundeswehr stops reconnaissance flights”. Misleading, because it suggests that the current changes to the mandate would mean a kind of withdrawal of the Bundeswehr.
This impression is wrong. Even if Italy intervenes, the Bundeswehr will continue to be represented in Iraqi airspace, possibly more than before: according to the Cabinet’s proposal, Italy has declared its “fundamental readiness” to replace Germany with its own aircraft. For this, however, the Bundeswehr must “play a stronger role"elsewhere. For example, German tankers are supposed to supply the Jets with fuel in the air via Iraq and Syria. In addition, Germany would in future become more involved with a surveillance radar for Iraqi airspace there and open air transport for troops for the partners. According to the German government, the training and advice of Iraqi armed forces and security forces should no longer be conducted purely nationally, but should be extended to the Nato Mission there.
According to media, 415 German soldiers are currently on duty. The German contingent is led from Jordan, where around 280 German soldiers are stationed. Almost 90 are deployed in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq to train Kurdish forces there. 27 Bundeswehr trainers work in the Taji military complex north of Baghdad.
With the Cabinet proposal, therefore, in open contradiction to the declared will of the Iraqi parliament, the deployment is expanded rather than that the Bundeswehr would make arrangements to leave the country again, at least in the foreseeable future.
Royal gesture-NATO disempowers Iraqi democracy
But on what basis is the NATO mandate for Iraq based? The federal government explains this on its Homepage as follows:
Germany supports the establishment of self-supporting and reliable structures and capabilities in Iraq at the express request of the Iraqi government. The participation in the Nato Mission is also due to the explicit approval of the Iraqi government on 14 April 2014. The Iraqi Prime Minister renewed his agreement to the Nato Mission in an exchange of letters with the NATO Secretary General on 12 February 2020.
What is missing from this declaration is the mention of the resolution of the Iraqi parliament of January 2020, which clearly refers the troops to the country. How is this Problem solved? The parliament is declared not competent and the decision is transferred to the (executive) Iraqi government. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” is satisfied with the following wording:
The Iraqi Prime Minister is reported to have given his approval for the training mission to Nato on 12 February.
Here, therefore, a managing Premier is put by the West over the vote of the ordered. In an almost royal gesture, he allows the further occupation of the country. Imagine this in other constellations: the Parliament of Crimea would officially speak out against Russian troops, the Supreme Crimean representative would nevertheless invite the Russians – which side would our media and politicians take? Or suppose that the German parliament would expel the US troops from the country, but Angela Merkel would urge them to remain in a solitary act: what would be the more democratic Position?
SPD makes tragic figure
With its current decision, the German government is thus trampling on democratic practices. This ignorance of the representatives of the people will also damage the reputation of German democracy and its institutions. In addition, large parts of the German population reject missions abroad. These citizens also no longer feel represented by this government in the case.
The fact that the SPD is also taking part in this act can no longer surprise or disappoint – the development is nevertheless tragic. Not much remains of the resistance against military action simulated by individual Social Democrats last autumn. The “Tagesspiegel” recalled last October:
But since the IS was officially declared defeated at the end of 2017, the tendency to end the Operation has grown in the SPD faction. ( … ) Mützenich, then chief foreign policy officer, made himself an advocate of the critics and prevailed a year ago that the mandate will only be extended if it expires definitively on 31 October this year. But neither the Union nor Foreign Minister Heiko Maas want to accept this. Maas made a clear plea for the Germans to remain; their further participation was ‘indispensable’.
The Bundestag can still intervene
According to current reports, the Bundeswehr will not only remain in Iraq – its contribution will in future be integrated under the umbrella of NATO, which is training in parallel. This is remarkable, because in Berlin the SPD had long resisted operating under NATO umbrella in Iraq, as the media emphasize.
The German parliamentarians can still set limits to this planned militarism in unity of action with ignorance towards the Iraqi parliamentarians: the Bundestag has yet to approve the deployment. In this context, here is a Appeal to the SPD deputies from last autumn quoted:
Do not allow the SPD to lose credibility due to political compromises within the grand coalition. Do not, out of loyalty to allies, support a foreign and military policy that violates basic social democratic values. End the deployment of the Bundeswehr in Syria and Iraq with your vote in the Bundestag! Stand up for an end to the economic sanctions against Syria and for quick aid to rebuild a country destroyed by war and sanctions!