The Bundeswehr (German Army) is to train thousands of Syrians in hundreds of skills to prepare them for return to Syria, and to join the struggle to rebuild their country.
The new policy, in line with Angela Merkel’s now much-chided declaration last month that most migrants to Europe would go home after was announced yesterday in the opening speech of the significant Munich security conference by German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen.
Syria would need more than just “new stones” in rebuilding, said Ms. von der Leyen , who remarked the migrants would be prepared by soldiers to understand some 100 different trades. She said: “if we look at the incredible destruction of Aleppo, we know”, and told the audience the newly trained Syrians would “give the future [of Syria] a jump start”, reports Kronen Zeitung. .
The skills the soldiers would teach the migrants in Germany are varied and include explosives experts to work in bomb disposal, electricians, fire-fighters, sanitation engineers, paramedics, and logisticians, reports Tages Schau. The army would also be training so-called “management experts”, likely to be a new generation of officers, a ready-made middle class ready to be parachuted in to Syria and to run the country.
The plan may seem optimistic, and even Ms. von der Leyen admitted the idea was a long term one and predicated on there being a new “recognized, legitimate Syrian government”, which Germany would help build with new military and political structures. That the Islamic State controls swathes of the country, and the rump nation is ruled by Bashar al-Assad with assistance from the Russian Federation may put paid to the idea.
German military assistance to the conflict with the Islamic State to this point does not have the best track record. A significant shipment of military equipment pulled out of Germany’s stores was to be flown to Kurdish fighters in 2014, but the German air force lacked any working transport aircraft, and borrowed one from the Dutch.
That aircraft also broke down, and was stranded for days in Leipzig awaiting a team of competent aircraft mechanics to get it airborn.
Once the shipment, which included 16,000 rifles, eight million rounds of ammunition, 4,000 rockets, 10,000 hand grenades, and over 100 military vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers arrived much of it went missing. As Breitbart London reported last month, large amounts of ‘Bundeswehr’ stamped weapons and equipment has started turning up on the Iraqi black market.
Pictures broadcast on German television showed the gifted weapons, with their Bundeswehr store markings, serial numbers, and in some cases original packaging still clearly visible for sale at cut down prices in unused condition. Despite the fact the weapons were beign flogged rather than used to fight the Islamic State as intended, the German army seemed un-phased, telling journalists they had no way to track the weapons as no records of what weapons and serial numbers exactly had been sent were not kept.
Germany is not the first country to experiment with using the army to train up the next generation of leaders for war-torn Mediterranean countries in the hope of installing a new, Westernised people once conflict simmer down. The British army accepted 300 Libyan soldiers into Bassingbourn Barracks in 2014, intending to get them up to scratch before sending them home to lead the Libyan army of the future.
The troop was soon returned in disgrace, minus three members who were being tried for rape in UK courts after the group of men ran amok, breaking out of the barracks and terrorising locals. Three of those Libyan soldiers who raped women in Cambridge while AWOL from the base applied for asylum in the United Kingdom, claiming they would face discrimination if they went home.