• Germany's news in English

Defence officials split over troops for Libya

The Local · 26 Aug 2011, 17:35

Published: 26 Aug 2011 14:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Aug 2011 17:35 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière told Der Tagesspiegel that he assumed a “future Libyan government will take care of its own security and won’t need help from outside.”

But de Maizière’s deputy, parliamentary defence liaison Christian Schmidt, told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, that the United Nations, the European Union or NATO might find it necessary to send troops in order to stabilize Libya after Muammar Qaddafi's regime is toppled. If that happens then in the realm of Germany’s interests and international responsibilities it could not stay away, Schmidt said.

Schmidt said an action in Libya should not be a “pure NATO-action” but Libya’s Arab and North African neighbours should take on the responsibility. “But when NATO is called upon then we’re called upon too,” he said.

Germany shocked its closest allies last spring by refusing to back the current NATO mission to protect civilians in Libya. Berlin has since repeatedly said it would help rebuild the country after Qaddafi's ouster, but Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German officials became cagey about sending troops this week.

De Maizière instead offered to help Libya with the removal of chemical weapons. “We’re happy to help when the Libyans want it,” he told the newspaper. Overall, however, Germany doesn’t want to push anything and prefers to be in the background, he said.

In a controversial decision made in March, Germany decided not to support a UN resolution authorizing force against Qaddafi and refused to take part in the ensuing military intervention coordinated by NATO. That sparked a lot of debate – both domestically and abroad – about the country’s dependability.

Philipp Rösler, Germany's vice chancellor and economy minister, broke with the rest of Merkel's centre-right coalition on Friday by explicitly praising Berlin's NATO allies for their efforts against Qaddafi.

"We owe our deepest respect and gratitude to our allies who decisively stopped Qaddafi's murderous forces," he told the daily Passauer Neue Presse.

Story continues below…

His comments contrasted starkly with those made earlier this week by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who appeared to credit UN sanctions to with Qaddafi's ouster. That sparked renewed calls for Westerwelle, who is largely blamed for Berlin's decision not to support the NATO effort in Libya, to resign.

But Rösler, who succeeded Westerwelle as the leader of the Free Democratic Party this spring, said the beleaguered foreign minister's position was secure.

DAPD/The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:44 August 26, 2011 by DOZ
Libya is a wait and see situation.
18:20 August 26, 2011 by jg.
When awarding contracts,the new government will likely remember who actually helped them to topple Gaddafi, so Germany would probably be bit late if they only turn up as part of the stabilisation forces. They may also have noticed who built the big maze of tunnels under Tripoli, which Gaddafi and his entourage used to escape.
18:21 August 26, 2011 by neunElf
Allow me to translate for you;

Now that our allies have done the heavy lifting, it is about time for our companies to get back into Libya to secure more business for Germany Inc.

You can always count on Germany to be the first in line for any economic advantage that others have paid a high price for!
18:43 August 26, 2011 by Major B
Get a load of this crap below, excerpted from the article above:

"But de Maizière¦#39;s deputy, parliamentary defence liaison Christian Schmidt, told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, that the United Nations, the European Union or NATO might find it necessary to send troops in order to stabilize Libya after Muammar Qaddafi's regime is toppled. If that happens then in the realm of Germany¦#39;s interests and international responsibilities it could not stay away, Schmidt said.

You know, many of us supported Germany's decision not to intervene, and muffled our dismay over the fecklessness of that decision. We said, Germany doesn't need to appear kowtow to the U.S., especially as there are internal scrabbles and debates within Germany. I took with Germany "appearing" to stand beside nations with abhorrent foreign policies, China in Tibet and Russian in Georgia, and by abstaining from that Security Council vote.

In another article many contributors supported Germany's "moralistic" stance against intervention.

Now, after the battle has been won, and Napoleon, I mean Sarkozy(and Britain), appearing to be right, and well justified, the German government issues a "Johnny Come Late" mishy mouth statement like the one above.

Chancelor Kohl is right. Take a stand, stand by it and act like a country with a foreign policy.

"Economic Giant, Foreign policy Pygmy" is a slogan that will stick unless some adults are put in the Foreign Ministry.

And Fast!!!!!Schnell schnell schnell
19:34 August 26, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Stay out and send nothing. As Major B has pointed out, the government should stand to its original decision not to interfere (which was the right one, by the way). The NATO transformed itself from a defensive alliance into an intervention force, and no one seems to care about it, which is the true scandal. There is an unpopular dictator in some (military) inferior country? Let's bomb him, never mind that HE never has attacked a NATO-country. Even the UN-resolution, that definitely only allowed air strikes to save civilians, was hopelessly abused, and everybody could see it. You want a new beginning in Libya without Gaddafi? Me too, but this "libyan revolution" is spoiled by the unlawful foreign interference right from the start. Even its consequences for Libya are not really clear now that Gaddafi is gone. If this dubious NATO-tendency to stick her nose in other people's business goes on like that, Germany should abstain more often in the Security Council. I would not mind if the US-President flew 10 times over Germany during his "european-hand-shake-tour" to show his disapproval. Same goes for France and UK, by the way.
21:15 August 26, 2011 by SchwabHallRocks
In terms of using military force, Germany has been on the the wrong side of history in 1870, 1914, 1939, and now. Nothing has changed.

The end result, for better or worse, is justified by the means. In this case many, many countries (France, England, the USA, etc.) are willingly committing lives and resources to rid the the world, Africa, the Middle East, and Libya of a dictator / tyrant.

In the meantime, Germany sits around with its finger in its... equivicating and moralizing. Obviously our politicians do this with the support of the people, because like all policitians, their job is to get reelected.

The good news is that with the German birthrate below replacement level, Germany will become increasing irrelevant and we won't be reading about this nonsense in a few decades.
22:48 August 26, 2011 by Englishted

Why 1870 ?.

It was not Germany it was Prussia and they won .
01:39 August 27, 2011 by Takoda
If the current government would be a human, I would advise him to visit a therapist. The headless course of the CDU/FDP is unendurable.
03:30 August 27, 2011 by catjones
I woke up in a world of 'I don't care' and guess who was lying next to me.

Take half of the millions pledged to Haiti and pledge them to Libya.

gemany is a non-player in world politics. They continue the guilds and little more, building bigger watches than Switzerland.
10:29 August 27, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
Yes, Germany is no "player" in global politics, and the majority of Germans perfectly like it that way. So the statement that Germany is a "non-player in world politics" is rather a compliment. If Germany's glorious allies permanently want to squander their money and ressources out of dubious motives in questionable and unlawful military interventions, hey, that's okay. Germany as a "regional" or "middle" power doesn't need military influence, its economic importance is absolutely sufficient: there is not the smallest move possible in european politics against or without Germany's will, that should do, I guess. If you want to have military help, please come back in a real war of defense, as stated in the NATO-treaties.
16:59 August 27, 2011 by Klaipeda
I'm proud that Germany didn't join the murderers from France, America and elsewhere to drop bombs on Arabs. You can always count on the Americans to kill a million Arabs or Muslims here or there. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Libya, not to mention the Palestinians.

There is one thing that all the Arab countries whose people are bombed and murdered by the Americans have: they all stand up for the beleagured Palestinians rights and they criticize Israel. The other thing is most of them have oil and Americans and certain others don't mind killing a million Arabs here or there if it means they can fill their gas guzzlers with cheap fuel for a few more years.

This reminds me of when the Americans and British overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah of Iran, a dictator that tortured his people. They did that for oil too. Dictators are alright as long as they do what "we" want. And the Americans are close to having an orgasim as they think of bombing the living daylights out of Iran.

Russia, China and Germany should be honored for not joining the murderers.

The other thing Gaddafi was known for was speaking out for black South African rights. Gaddafi cane into power when some states in America still had white and black watercoolers.

Always the last country to join an alliance in a world war against another superpower, but very brave when it comes to dropping bombs on small, defenseless countries.
17:36 August 27, 2011 by catjones
Klaipeda...Perhaps you should ask those who lived under a dictatorship for 40 years which government they prefer. Unlike you, they found it unbearable to the point of risking (and losing) their lives.
09:14 August 28, 2011 by Major B
Hey Klaipida,

The enlightened will honor will honor Russian when it makes full restitution to Georgia for its invasion, withdraws from all Georgian territory and gets out of the Abkhaz and and Ossetian situation.

We'll honor China when it withdraws from Tibet, restores that country's independence and makes restitution there.

Do you still want to include Germany in the same sentence with Russian and China?
15:36 August 28, 2011 by Expat IV
Agreed, Major B.

You could also add that it was the US and British murderers who dropped bombs on the Nazis, thus giving Klaipida the freedom to make his rabid statements here in Germany today. The US could easily have remained on the sidelines and watched the Nazi regime commit atrocities beyond human belief just German has sat aside and watched as Libyans died at the hand of their dictator. Fortunately---for Klaipida---we did not.

I grew up in the state of Mississippi in the days of black and white water coolers. Maybe I am wrong, I don't recall Germany ever speaking out against it as Klaipida praises St. Gadaffi for doing in South Africa. The US helped destroy the animal who murdered millions in his drive towards a "master race" in Germany.

Ye, the US has a shameful history of racism. Yet, in 50 years we have gone from black and white water coolers to an African-American President. When will Germany prove the same by electing a Turkish-German Prime Minister?

The Shah of Iran was next in line in the Persian Royal Family. You agree with the present head of the Iranian government who publicly advocates the annihilation of Israel? Shades of Mein Furhrer--the US and Great Britain are needed again.
18:07 August 29, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ Expat IV

US and British forces had indeed bombed many people in the WWII, both Nazis and civilians, both Germans and people from other countries. They did not do this based on moral grounds, but to serve their own interests (but I guess only naive people would claim otherwise).

Is a Vietnamese-German vice-chancellor a good proof of Germany's anti-racism stance? Do you also appreciate a female chancellor? I hope Americans will soon be mature enough to elect a female President (electing Obama was a good step in this direction).

But the current article is about the conflict between those supporting the moral decision Germany took by abstaining in the Security Council and the opportunists that consider that victors are always right (even if they fought an unlawful war).
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd