Schroder: Germany will aid U.S. against Iraq

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Dec 12 20:40:16 MST 2002


12.12.2002

Germany will Participate in NATO Operations Against Iraq

Chancellor Schröder counters critics from within the governing parties and
says that German soldiers will fly NATO reconnaissance planes if the U.S.
goes to war with Iraq.

German soldiers will indeed take part in NATO operations in the event of a
war against Iraq, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder asserted in a television
interview on Wednesday. "Germany will fulfill its obligations towards the
alliance...and that naturally also means protecting alliance territory," he
emphasized.

The chancellor was responding to dissent within the governing Social
Democratic (SPD) and Green parties. Angelika Beer, the newly elected leader
of the Green Party, insists that Germany's constitution requires it to
refuse all support for a war against Iraq. The constitution forbids Germany
from taking part in a military offensive.

A broken promise?

During Schröder's recent re-election campaign he declared that Germany would
not take part in a war on Iraq, whether or not the UN issues a mandate for
an attack. Now, it seems Schröder will indeed commit Germany to military
involvement in Iraq, even if the commitment is only passive.

In the interview on Wednesday the chancellor said he had already spoken with
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (Green) about his position
and downplayed Beer's power: "Ms. Beer will not have to make the
decision.This is an executive decision of the government and it will be made
exactly as I have set out."

Referring to the use of airspace and transportation of troops through
Germany, Schröder stressed that Germany would not restrict its alliance
partners' movements.

AWACS fleet in Germany

At NATO headquarters on Dec. 4, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
suggested that the alliance could send AWACS planes to support American
actions.

The NATO fleet of 17 AWACS reconnaissance planes is stationed in
Geilenkirchen, Germany. The planes are manned by a multinational crew from
11 countries, nearly one-third of which is German.

In the event of a war against Iraq the AWACS are likely to be used to
monitor Turkish airspace.




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