After deploying aircraft in Turkey and officially reinforcing its contingents in Mali (in the framework of the MINUSMA – the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) and in Iraq, is Germany now going to send military instructors to train Libyan soldiers? According to the 9 January edition of the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, an internal report by the German government suggests that between 150-200 instructors should be sent to Tunisia to train Libyan National Army (LNA) soldiers.
The objective of this mission would be to ensure that the LNA could more effectively combat the Daesh guerillas using the political vacuum left by more than four years of civil war to gain control of large regions of this north African state. Because of the critical security situation in Libya, the German instructors would have to operate from neighbouring Tunisia, where they could join their Italian counterparts, engaged since April 2011 in training Libyan troops in the framework of the Italian Mission in Libya (MIL).
However, according to Der Spiegel, the mission would only be officially set up if and when the different, rival political factions in Libya organise into a unified government. The German weekly suggests that the Bundeswehr is thinking about designing this mission along the same lines as the one set up to train Kurdish soldiers in northern Iraq.
Although the plan revealed by the daily has been neither confirmed nor denied by the German Defence Ministry, it has already been supported by Martin Kobler, Special Representative, Head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya. “As soon as the security situation in this country improves, I can well imagine that Germany will contribute to training security officers in Libya,” Kobler told the German weekly Bild am Sonntag on 3 January.
If the project does come to fruition then this new training mission by the Bundeswehr would confirm the policy of engagement adopted by the German Defence Ministry in the wake of last year’s 13 November terrorist attacks in Paris and its suburb of Saint-Denis.