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Berlin open to Libyan peacekeeping role

The Local · 9 Jun 2011, 17:09

Published: 09 Jun 2011 17:09 GMT+02:00

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Speaking to reporters at a NATO summit in Brussels, German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière said Berlin could envision deploying peacekeepers after the fighting was over.

But de Maizière made clear it was still early to define the international role in a post-Qaddafi Libya.

"We hope there will be a solution which does not require a military presence there but instead economic or infrastructure assistance, perhaps with the formation of security forces," he said. "But should it happen differently, then we would examine it and we would constructively examine it."

Germany was “ready to take responsibility in the post-conflict phase” in Libya, de Maizière said at the meeting of the transatlantic alliance late on Wednesday.

“We support the aims and activities of NATO,” said de Maizière said. “In this case, we’re not there militarily, but we’re engaged in Libya politically.”

His comments came in response to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s call for a “broadening” of support for the alliance’s mission, as only nine countries are currently taking part in combat operations.

“The broader the support, the greater the sustainability,” said Rasmussen of the operations which in recent days have included the bombing of Libya’s capital, Tripoli.

Also at the summit, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates called directly for Germany and other European nations to take greater responsibility in Libya.

In his address to NATO defence ministers, Gates told German officials Berlin should take an active military role, according to the Associated Press.

Traditional German allies the US, Britain and France are using missile strikes and a no-fly zone to protect civilians and help the rebels fighting Qaddafi’s forces, in a military intervention coordinated by NATO.

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Germany, however, refused to participate after abstaining from a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force As the only EU and NATO member to do so, the move left Berlin appearing isolated.

DPA/The Local/mdm/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:20 June 9, 2011 by adipk
Ohhh thanks God , it means officials are not drunk yet and they are not sleeping. Good sign by Govt. I am afraid that the Frau Merkal may pay the price of the award which she received.
13:39 June 9, 2011 by ChrisRea
"the US, Britain and France are using missile strikes and a no-fly zone to protect civilians and help the rebels fighting Qaddafi¦#39;s forces"

I thought the UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 said only about protecting civilians. Helping a side in a civil war means intervening in the internal affairs of Libya. And this is pretty risky, considering that the rebels are not really known to share the values of the Western countries.

How did the revolt start? As a commemoration of the 2006 Danish cartoons protests.

What does the Transitional National Council say against Qaddafi's rule? As posted on they website (http://www.libya-nclo.com), they are against Qaddafi daring to say that Christians and Jews should be allowed to visit Mecca. They are also against Qaddafi making fun of the Islamic veil, calling it a "rag" and a "tent". They also disagree with Qaddafi declaring himself a follower of the "Qur'an alone" movement, which rejects orthodox Muslim punishments, like stoning for adultery, death penalty for homosexuals etc (actually after getting in serious trouble with Islamic scholar, Qaddafi "repented and took back his statement").

Who is the the head of Libya's opposition Transitional National Council? Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the Libyan regime's former justice minister. Not the best credentials, I dare to say.

The leaked State Department memos describe Eastern Libya (2008) as an area of fervent Islamic sentiment. The East Libyans sent jihadis to Iraq, where "fighting against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq represented a way for frustrated young radicals to strike a blow against both Qadhafi and against his perceived American backers".

In Benghazi, regime loyalists or anyone "perceived" to be a loyalist are apparently assassinated. Human Rights Watch says that the rebels unjustly detain civilians and also use torture to death.

While I believe Qaddafi is a dictator responsible for bloodshed and even terrorism, I am not sure that the rebels are "the good guys". I hope it is not a reenacting of supporting the Talibans as the best way to fight Soviets in Afganistan.

Even if I think Merkel's position of avoiding military intervention is not based only Samaritan intents, I believe it is a sign of common sense and being with both feet on the ground.
14:02 June 9, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Awww:'(. Not enough bombs being dropped? not Enough Airstrikes, Liberals? Who's next, for the Obama Coalition? Yemen? and was that revolution started by a Danish Cartoonist, too?
16:14 June 9, 2011 by Major B
Wow. Peacekeeping for the Bundeshwer in Libya? Huh oh. Frau Merkel, return that award before your opposition whines to the sky about Germany making a reasonable contribution. Watch, out, you are going to be accused of bending over for the U.S.

@ ChrisRea

Like the points you bring out. From what I've read, the coaltion has taken a pretty hands off approach to the rebels. One reason I live the French and British way of dealing with them as opposed to the way the U.S. would do it.

Example: Read an article about close air support requests by the rebels based in Benghazi and NATO's "hands off" approach to them. Although there is a command post where both NATO and Opposition members both operate, NATO has no direct links to the rebels. They have to walk down the hallway to make requests. This is so that NATO won't be in violation of the UN mandate for the intervention, which is obstensibly to prevent civilian deaths.

The NATO is doing this ties into the points you bring out. We don't need to " be in bed" with these folks. Maybe Quaddafi is right and the opposition are fronts for Al Quaeda, facts all the major intelligence services surely can confirm if true. The lefties who want to whine and declare this is about getting oil will not reqret the close watch NATO will be able to keep over this crowd after Quadaffi leaves.

This brings up serious issues for Europe, the group that eventually comes to power in Libya
16:17 June 9, 2011 by Bushdiver
If the Germans aren't interested in helping now, there is no need for them to help when it's all over.
16:27 June 9, 2011 by HistoryProffessor
@ ChrisRea, just an fyi. The United State never supported the Taliban. Infact the Taliban was not formed until 1994 under Mullah Omar. Thus making it impossible for the US to support the "Taliban" during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. I see the point you are trying to make but your facts werent there. I agree the situation in Libya is pretty sketchy, now that we are indeed involved and have an interest there. (as a result of our presidents choices) what the government needs to do is put people on the ground within the rebells to ensure they are never able to create a new anti western Islamic govt. We need a stable pro-west leader in Libya. Now that were balls deep in this, it would be in the EU, NATO, Germany, and the US's best interest to ensure that a leader meeting the previously stated criterea is empowered.
16:54 June 9, 2011 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Putting western boots on the ground in Libya without being explicitly invited to do so (which, btw, is something the Libyan rebels have said many times is something they very much do not want), is the surest way to make certain that the next government absolutely will be anti-western.
17:31 June 9, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Believe this is a good move for both NATO and Germany. For Germany, at a time that even the U.N. is thinking that NATO may have gone beyond the auspices of the U.N. mandate given them, agreeing to help in the "peacekeeping" afterwards will help its international image. For NATO, if Germany provides the bulk of the peacekeepers and so forth, then a burden is somewhat lifted off their shoulders.

We may not like it, but at least the Germans have made the offer, and appear to be willing to honor it. Let's just hope they keep their word.
21:41 June 9, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ HistoryProffessor (#6)

You are right, I did not express myself correctly. US did not support the Taliban as such, but the individuals that will play a major role in forming and developing Taliban (the most famous example is Osama bin Laden, whose men received guns and training starting 1980; it was only in 1997 that US began to distance from the Taliban). But indeed, the Taliban as an organisation was started by Mullah Omar only in 1991 (with fewer than 50 armed madrassah students in his hometown of Kandahar).
09:49 June 10, 2011 by frankiep
The West continues to involve itself military in the internal affairs of Arab nations then wonders why the people from those Arab nations react with force. What is the old saying? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

@Major B: You say that Germany needs to make a "reasonable contribution" to the military action in Libya. What BS. The civil war in Libya has nothing to do with Germany, nothing to do with NATO, and nothing to do with any Western country for that matter. Frankly, it is amazing that at a time when so many Western nations are struggling with serious economic problems that there are still people like you who think nothing of spending billions on open ended military adventures which have nothing at all to do with national defense and in fact will almost surely result in creating even more enemies.
11:16 June 10, 2011 by Sysconfig
@chris Rea

Great post

I found it odd That during his speeches, Obama never mentions Saudi Arabia who is helping bob, mvia contractors and the word Democracy in the same sentence. These Despots societies , in no way match Libyas who gives Women the right to vote since the seventies, The right to drive, which can get a woman arrested elsewhere in the middle East.., Invested in American banks and Uk banks.., Has Christian churches, the Catholic ones, who support him,, gave jobs to blacks, while others spit on them, if not burned them.. just WTH are we doing? Tearing down A regime, which unlike the others was far more enlightened in our direction, then ALL the others combined, while holding or throwing life preserves to the worst tyrants.
11:44 June 10, 2011 by michael4096
"If the Germans aren't interested in helping now, there is no need for them to help when it's all over."

Yep. Everything 's all over when the fighting stops. Mission Accomplished. Everybody can just get on with things in their newly created ideal society - no problem.

Just like Iraq.

Kudos to Germany for recognising that destroying the country is the easy bit and for putting themselves at the front of what I'm sure will be a very short queue of people wanting to help get Libya functioning again.
22:32 June 10, 2011 by Major B
@ frankiep

I was being sardonic. More "tongue in cheek" I suppose. I almost have no opinion on whether Germany should participate. Have learned to be careful expressing security issues in regards to Germany in these posts.

Was referring to the award she received at the White House. I half expected a ton of posts saying Obama gave her the award as a gesture so that she can do his bidding. From the often snide, ignorant and insincere remarks that are expressed here I have come to expect that low level of comment on these pages.

I mean, after the dust settles and Khaddafi is gone, do you REALLY, I mean REALLY, think a Peacekeeping role is a military adventure? Really? Come on man.
15:26 June 11, 2011 by harcourt
It's comforting to know that the Germans are willing to help out, once all the fighting is over. However don't be too hasty, peace keeping can be dangerous too. Maybe you want a bit of time to reconsider your rash offer !!
14:17 June 12, 2011 by Bob Morris
I think that Ms. Merkel and the BDR should decide if Qaddafi is a threat to world peace and his own people. If she and the BDR agree that he is, she should join in removing him, just as German doctors would participate in getting rid of smallpox or the bubonic plague--and sending troops after the war is over just isn't good enough.

By wat of identification, I'm an American.
13:06 June 16, 2011 by AirForceGuy
Pony Up, Europe

"For most of the Cold War, US governments could justify defense investments and costly forward bases that made up roughly 50 percent of all NATO military spending. But some two decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the US share of NATO defense spending has now risen to more than 75 percent at a time when politically painful budget and benefit cuts are being considered at home. The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the US Congress, and in the American body politic writ large, to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense."

-Defense Secretary Robert Gates following his final meeting with NATO defense ministers at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, June 10, 2011. Gates is scheduled to step down as Defense Secretary, after four-and-a-half years in office, on June 30, 2011.
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