Federal Armed Forces to continue deployment in Iraq

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Extended mandate Federal Armed Forces to continue deployment in Iraq

The Federal Armed Forces will continue their deployment to combat Islamic State (IS) and assist with the stabilisation of Iraq. Up to 500 soldiers may be deployed up to 31 October 2023 to help bring about a long-term stabilisation in Iraq. This decision by the Federal Cabinet still has to be approved by the Bundestag.

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The photo shows German and Iraqi soldiers in Iraq.

Training with a Bundeswehr soldier: the plan is to provide Iraqi armed and security forces with the wherewithal to be able to independently guarantee security and stability in Iraq.

Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Michael Kappeler

What has been decided?

The Federal Government has decided to “continue the deployment of German armed forces with a view to securing stabilisation, preventing the resurgence of IS, and promoting reconciliation in Iraq.” The objective is to enable the Iraqi armed and security forces to guarantee the long-term security and stability of Iraq without assistance and to prevent a resurgence of the terrorist organisation known as Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.

Why was the decision taken to extend the deployment?

IS has been defeated in its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Nonetheless, IS continues to carry out attacks against Iraqi forces, local administrative structures, and critical infrastructure in Iraq. Whilst the mission objective has not yet been achieved, the international community has made significant progress in recent years. It is necessary to continue with the mission in order to consolidate, expand, and further develop what has been achieved so far.

The Federal Government's military engagement furthers Germany's interests in the region and is supporting Iraq during a crucial and politically challenging phase. The Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence produced a report in the last mandate period recommending that the mission be extended. These reports were sent to the parliamentary groups in the Bundestag.

What is the contribution of the Federal Armed Forces?

The Federal Armed Forces fulfil the following scope of functions:

  • Air-to-air refuelling
  • Air transport
  • Ground-based airspace surveillance and staff personnel
  • Participation in NATO AWACS air surveillance flights
  • Advisory and staff personnel in the missions of the international anti-IS coalition as well as NATO

How else is Germany involved, in addition to its military contribution?

As well as providing military support, Germany also has a civic involvement in Iraq. The Federal Government has provided almost three billion euros since 2013. Germany is investing in water, electricity, education, and health in order to strengthen infrastructure. It is also involved in explosive ordnance clearance, economic recovery, and the development of an inclusive local police force.

The aim is to improve living conditions in Iraq in order to improve the country’s long-term prospects. This will reduce the causes of displacement and expulsion in the region and migration to Europe.

What is the legal basis for the troop deployment?

The deployment of German armed forces in Iraq is based on an agreement with the Iraqi government. In addition, the fight against IS is based on Iraq’s right to collective self-defence, which is enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations (UN) Charter as well as resolutions passed by the UN Security Council. These stipulate, among other things, that IS presents a threat to world peace. The deployment of German soldiers follows the rules of a system of mutual security as set out in Article 24, paragraph 2 of the Basic Law. The deployment will be evaluated at regular intervals.

You can find more information on the deployment on the Federal Armed Forces website (german).