Council Secretary-General of Information


Out of Area – German Federal Army missions since 1990
January 9, 2009, 2:55 pm
Filed under: International Politics

“Nie wieder Krieg” – a quote basing on a lithography of Käthe Kollwitz in 1924 – “never again war” was a sentence dominating German foreign policies after 1945, counting for both German states the FRG (West), as well the GDR (East).

And, despise both states being bound into the Cold War blocks of power, none of them got directly involved in any war, nor send army unites into other countries, except for non-military missions as support and reconstruction after disasters as earthquakes or floods.

Since 1990 however, when the GDR got integrated into the area of the FRG and following along the complete recognition of the FRG as sovereign state (2 + 4 treaty), there seem to have changed some parameters in German foreign politics.

Of course it can be argued whether or not UN missions can be counted as wars, though they were actions “out of area” – outside the NATO-area, which was originally meant to be the operating area of the (West-)German army. However with the end of the Cold War and worldwide starting conflicts about resources and flaming up ethnic conflicts the focus of the Bundeswehr (Federal Army) changed from a defence army to an intervention army.

While UN missions were still matter of discussions in how far they were to explain as peace-securing missions in the name of the United Nations – and therefore not breaking the UN-charta – it was however completely different in the case of the Federal Yugoslav Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo i Metohija).

The NATO-attacks on cities and other locations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were not an UN-mission and to declare it a NATO defence case makes no sense since the FR of Yugoslavia did not attack any NATO-member, in fact didn’t attack any other country.

The civil war in Kosovo and Metohija was a complete intra-Yugoslav matter and by their own laws the NATO could not intervent. In fact it was eventually the argument to prevent a genocide from happening that was used to explain the attacks by the NATO.

Even though their actually were civil war like unrest and ethnic conflicts happening in the autonomous province and both, Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs committed crimes and attacks on each other, it makes at least suspicious that the official NATO press announcements are very disputable, numbers of victims reached unbelievable heights and often claims could not fully be proven.

Before I’ll go further into detail here, I’ll move over to an overview of Bundeswehr missions since 1990:

1991: German marine unites patrol in the Persian Gulf, after the UN lead mission in Iraq and Kuwait, to control the UN declared sanctions against Iraq. German air-force bomber are temporarily stationed in Turkey during the UN mission.

1992: German army units stationed in Kampuchea. German marine patrols in the Adrian Sea to control the UN declared sanctions against Yugoslavia. An airfore base is constructed in Kenya. NATO-lead control-flights above Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1993: German army units in Somalia during an UN lead mission. German border police officers in Morocco.

1994: German army units in Georgia during an UN lead mission. German air-force joins an air-bridge towards Rwanda. The German Federal Court declares out of area missions as confirm with the Federal laws.

1995: German army units stationed in Croatia. German air-force flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1996: German army units in Bosnia-Herzegovina during an UN lead mission.

1997: German army mission in the Albanian civil-war to secure German citizens.

1999: NATO-lead air-born attacks on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – as reaction to the civil war in Kosovo-Metohija/Serbia. Often considered as the first “war” after 1945 with Germany joining in. Afterwards German troops are stationed in Kosovo-Metohija to fulfil police work in the area round Prizren. German army units in Indonesia and Timor-Leste during an UN-lead mission. German army units stationed in Sierra Leone and as well in Mozambique during an UN-lead missions.

2001: German army units stationed in Macedonia during a NATO-lead mission. German marine unites are send to Djibouti and first German soldiers arrive in Afghanistan within UN-lead missions.

2002: Greater German army unites in Afghanistan during an UN-lead mission. German marine unites arrive in Djibouti and the Gulf of Aden. German army units stationed in Kuwait. Within the UN-lead mission in Afghanistan German army units are stationed in Uzbekistan and start to an construct air-force base. German air-born marine units stationed in Kenya.

2003: German-French plans for an UN-lead intervention in Iraq get public. German army units stationed in Uganda. German marine patrolling along the Somali and Spain/Moroccans coats during an UN-lead mission.

2004: German army officers are send to Ethiopia. German army units stationed in the UAE.

2005: German army support in Indonesia after the tsunami.

2006: During an EU-lead mission are German army units stationed in Congo (Democratic Republic).

This list might be a bit incomplete, I please to excuse this.

Currently the Bundeswehr is still stationed “out of area” in: Kosovo-Metohija, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, Lebanon and around the “Horn Of Africa” (Indian Ocean).

In conclusion, The Bundeswehr is anything but a defensive army anymore, but an intervention troop. Whether one does see it as peace-securing missions or aggressive militarism – one thing is sure: The FRG, Germany, is involved in several conflicts and wars and the Bundeswehr isn’t hide away from potential military actions anymore as during the Cold War.

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