Germany ‘still committed to the safety and stability of Kurdistan Region’: Col. Markus Meyer
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The German military is overseeing various projects that are assisting the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces, German Colonel Markus Meyer, Commander of the German military forces in Iraq, told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
“German military projects for the Peshmerga include a medical facility in Erbil, a school for military training, and other smaller projects,” Meyer said.
In addition to the medical facility, which has been completed and is already running, Germany has other projects in the works, including the purchase of land to build a training facility in the future, Meyer said.
“We are currently not a training mission, our mission DEU Kr CBI is to provide counseling corresponding to the requirements of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Ministry of Peshmerga (MOP), in coordination with CJTF-OIR (anti-ISIS coalition),” he said.
Meyer confirmed to Kurdistan 24 that Germany participates in the Multinational Advisory Group that supports Peshmerga reform.
“The other members in this group are the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Netherlands,” he said.
“Our assignment also includes supporting the reform program of the Peshmerga, and leading and supporting the German participation in NATO Mission Iraq (NMI).”
Asked if Germany would provide the Peshmerga with additional heavy weapons, such as Milan anti-tank missiles, if the Islamic State once again threatened the Kurdistan Region, Meyer pointed out that the delivery of such weapons was an unprecedented decision on the German government’s part.
“The threat by ISIS and the strong ties to this region were important reasons why Germany decided to help directly,” he said. “The idea was to prevent further suffering by enabling the Peshmerga to stop any further ISIS advances, it is, therefore, impossible for me to precisely predict, if in the future such a political decision in Germany will happen again.”
“Our presence here shows that Germany is still committed to the safety and stability of the Kurdistan Region.”
Meyer also said that the German forces have been providing weapons, vehicles, spare parts, and ammunition to the Peshmerga.
According to Meyer, the Peshmerga are very disciplined and receptive to the training given by Germany.
“There is a clear will to accept our methods and tactics, but we (the West) need to remind ourselves not to impose our solutions but to work out with Peshmerga partners, see what their needs are, and how to support them,” he said.
Meyer arrived in Iraq on September 8, 2021. He replaced Colonel Holvar Konckle, the previous commander of German forces in Iraq.
“I’m amazed by this vibrant and historical region, with strong ties to Germany, and to be honest, I found it even better than my expectations,” Meyer concluded after being asked about his first impressions of the Kurdistan Region.