Bundeswehr to continue training Peshmerga

Foreign mission extended Bundeswehr to continue training Peshmerga

Germany is stepping up its fight against the terrorist organisation IS. Up to 150 German soldiers are to train Peshmerga fighters and members of the Iraqi security forces. The German Bundestag must still approve the Cabinet decision.

Theoretical instruction in the use of the weapons Germany has supplied to the Peshmerga at a training centre near Erbil in northern Iraq

Up tp 150 German soldiers are to train Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi security forces in Erbil

Photo: Bundeswehr/Sebastian Wilke

The German government is to expand the action it is taking against the IS terrorist organisation. For one year Bundeswehr troops have been providing support in the form of training for security forces around Erbil in northern Iraq. This mission is to be extended for another year. The motion must still be approved by the German Bundestag.

The Bundestag mandate is to be extended until 31 January 2017, and the ceiling on troops is to be raised from 100 to 150 soldiers.

Joint action against terrorism

The terrorist organisation IS has become a global threat to peace and security. The terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, against Russia and in France provide ample evidence of the threat to world peace. The UN Security Council has already noted this in various resolutions, most recently in November 2015.

The United Nations Security Council called on the international community to take all necessary steps to prevent the terrorist activities of IS.

Strengthening the ability of Iraqi authorities to ensure security

One core element in the fight against the IS is the development of permanent capacities within the Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga, the security forces of the regional government in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Since the multinational training mission began on 15 February 2015 around Erbil, more than 4,800 members of the security forces have undergone training in northern Iraq and in Germany, in line with the German government’s principle of ensuring that all population groups are involved in training.

Germany’s armed forces are acting within the framework and in line with the rules of a system of collective security as laid out in Article 24.2 of the German Basic Law or constitution.

Training centre in Erbil

The training support is centred on the area in and around Erbil. Under exceptional circumstances troops can also be deployed outside this immediate region, for purposes of consultation and coordination across the entire Iraqi territory.

In addition, a limited number of German troops will continue to be assigned to staff units of the international alliance against the IS, mainly in Iraq and Kuwait.

Further support planned

The Peshmerga and the security forces of the Iraqi central government are also to receive more military equipment. Only well equipped and well trained troops can hold their own against the IS.

In addition to training and equipment, Germany is considering treating wounded members of the security forces in Germany and offering air transport for the wounded.

Initial successes against the IS clearly visible

The international efforts in the fight against the terrorist organisation are bearing their first fruits – in many places the forward march of the terrorists has been halted. In northern Iraq in particular, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi armed forces have, with international support, managed to force the IS largely into a defensive role.

Political transition in Syria

Military support for the Iraqi armed forces and the regional Kurdish security forces is only one part of the support offered by Germany, and are part of an overall political approach, including development cooperation and support for Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons in Iraq.

Parallel to this, the German government is proceeding with its efforts to make progress on the political process for Syria, in an effort to prevent the state structures failing completely. Efforts aim to integrate all political, ethic and religious groups in the government and state, bringing peace to the region, and stemming the IS terrorism.