Chances of German Probe Into Iraq Role Diminish | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.01.2006
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Chances of German Probe Into Iraq Role Diminish

Despite a last attempt to force a parliamentary inquiry into the role of German agents in the Iraq war, disagreement among opposition leaders means a probe is now less likely than before.


A potential enquiry into the BND's activities sparked opposition in-fighting

However, the Free Democrats (FDP) and the left wing alliance, the Left Party, have not given up their attempts to force an inquiry. They plan to put forward a collective parliamentary motion on Tuesday in an attempt to get the support of the 25 percent of parliamentarians needed for an investigation to go ahead.

Left Party leader Gregor Gysi told German public broadcaster ARD that the motion would be formulated such that MPs from the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats could also lend their support.

Gregor Gysi, Die Linke

Left Party leader Gregor Gysi still wants an enquiry to go ahead

It is questionable though, whether the opposition can garner the necessary 25 percent of votes following disagreement between the FDP and the Green Party, also a member of the opposition.

FDP, Greens disagree

On Monday, the parliamentary group leader of the FDP, Wolfgang Gerhardt, blamed the Greens for failing to agree on whether to back an inquiry.

The Greens had offered the government a compromise solution, saying that if it were to thoroughly inform parliament about the activities of German BND intelligence agents in Iraq, an inquiry would not be necessary.

The government agreed to answer questions from the opposition on the issue, prompting Renate Künast, the leader of the Greens' parliamentary party, to say that the need for a probe was "far smaller" than before.

A week ago, all three opposition parties had been in favor of an inquiry. Now, the FDP is criticizing the Greens for changing their position too quickly.

The Greens now face accusations of trying to fend off any potential embarrassment an inquiry could bring to their party. As the junior partner in the previous coalition government, their figurehead, Joschka Fischer, was foreign minister at the time of the Iraq war.

Allegations denied

In a parliamentary debate on Friday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier strongly denied that agents from the BND foreign intelligence service had helped US forces choose targets for bombing in the 2003 Iraq war.

Steinmeier dismissed as "scandal-mongering" reports that Berlin shared military secrets with Washington during the war.

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