21 March 2010

Germany Active in Africa

An interesting article here, about mixed results of German cooperation in Africa.

Over the last decade, Germany's military cooperation with African countries has been organized and implemented by the Foreign and Defense Ministries. In fact, the military training assistance program has trained defense personnel from 28 African countries and over 1,200 experts.

Defence Spokesman Thomas Silberhorn of the Christian Social Union says the military training strenghtens bilateral relations.

"The military training assistance aims at strengthening relationships with other countries and thereby also teach democratic ideals. That is a good thing. It is military training, but from the basis of what we have in Germany," he told Deutsche Welle.

Military cooperation with South Africa

South Africa is one of the countries benefitting from military cooperation and assistance from Germany. Captain Lisa Hendricks, South African Defense Attache to Germany, told Deutsche Welle that "the training provided by Germany has been invaluable to the South African Defence Forces."

Germany and South Africa have been involved in military cooperation for almost 19 years. As part of the ongoing cooperation between the two nations, the South African Air Force, South African Navy, and the German Navy and German Air Force recently carried out the fourth installment of Exercise Good Hope (Exercise Good Hope IV).

According to the German Information Center Pretoria, Exercise Good Hope IV, which was held around Cape Town, included live missile and gun firings, anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft drills, fleet work and maneuvering. The exercises were the largest undertaken by the German Task Force Group outside of its NATO obligations.

When it all goes wrong

But military cooperation does not always yield the desired results. The example of Guinea in West Africa shows that the ideals of democracy and rule of law are not always successfully transmitted. In September 2009, German-trained paratroopers gained notoriety when they shot at peaceful demonstrators.

And in December 2008, Moussa Dadis Camara overthrew the government in what is sometimes called the "German Coup." His trademark was a red beret with a bronze eagle - the symbol for German paratroopers. Camara's rule only lasted until December 3, 2009, when there was an assassination attempt on his life. He was then replaced by his Vice President, Sekouba Konate (a French-trained paratrooper).

Unlike his position as President of Guinea, Camara acquired his beret legitimately during his four-year training with the German Armed Forces. Like him, many other rebels were trained in Germany; including Finance Minister Mamdou Sande and Security Minister Mamadouba Camara.

There's plenty more to go read.

By: Brant

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