Despite the government's calls for discretion, German opposition parties are set on submitting the work of the German secret service in Iraq to parliamentary scrutiny. Former Chancellor Schröder may be asked to testify.
The work of the German secret service may soon become a matter of public scrutiny
German opposition parties intend to call former chancellor Gerhard Schröder before a planned parliamentary investigation into the role of the German secret services in the 2003 Iraq war, officials said on Tuesday.
The current foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and his predecessor Joschka Fischer should also give evidence to the inquiry, Ulrich Maurer, a whip for the Left Party, said.
"All points of suspicion and accusations must be cleared up," Maurer added.
He said he was confident that the Left party -- a collection of former communists and dissidents from Schröder's Social Democrats -- together with the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the ecologist Greens could agree on what focus the inquiry should take.
Both Schröder and Fischer may have to testify
The Greens should not refuse to make the scope of the investigation "as wide-reaching as possible" despite their involvement in the former coalition government, Maurer said. Fischer is a member of the Greens.
The parties were to meet about the issue later on Tuesday.
"It must be cleared up whether the previous government deceived the public," said FDP party leader Guido Westerwelle.
An inquiry is almost certain to take place because together the three parties represent more than the 25 percent of lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament required to force a probe.
A secret ally?
Germany, under Schröder, steadfastly opposed the Iraq war and no German troops participated in the US-led invasion.
The German role in the Iraq war is yet to be fully explained
The current government, consisting of a "grand coalition" of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Union and the Social Democrats, has admitted that two German spies in Baghdad supplied intelligence to the US military during the Iraq war, but did not help select bombing targets.
It has also emerged that a German intelligence officer was based in the office of US General Tommy Franks, who headed up US Central Command during the invasion, and provided several reports on Iraq during the first few months of the war.
Political analysts have noted that such an investigation would grant the three small opposition parties a tempting opportunity to boost their profiles at a time when it is difficult to attract media attention due to the government's strength.