Germany will on Wednesday adopt the most radical restructuring of its military since 1945, turning the Bundeswehr into an international intervention force, according to an internal cabinet strategy paper obtained by the Financial Times.
The paper, which will be endorsed at a special cabinet meeting in the defence ministry, is the product of a review – the first of its kind since 1994 – begun by Angela Merkel, chancellor, after she won office last November. It will see Germany’s military officially abandon its primary postwar task of defending the country’s borders in favour of a more robust role for German troops on international missions.
The military’s most sensitive international deployment since the second world war came this month when the German navy took control of patrolling Lebanese waters to stop weapons smugglers. The military has taken part in other international missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, for example, but has largely avoided direct involvement in war zones.
Speaking of which:
The German Defense Ministry said Wednesday it is investigating an incident in which two Israeli fighter jets allegedly fired shots and dropped flares near a German warship patrolling the Lebanese coast as part of a peacekeeping force.
German officials said the planes _ two F-16s _ fired two shots and released the flares, which can be used as a defense measure against heat-seeking missiles, said a ministry spokesman. He did not identify the vessel.
Israeli officials deny that the jets fired shots at the German ship.
Two incidents is not a "history", but Israeli fighters have been aggressive in the past.