As of October 16, Germany has assumed the command of the international naval forces off the coast of Lebanon charged with preventing arms smuggling into Lebanon through the sea.
At this point the force is comprised of five frigates and seven speed boats from seven different countries. The German frigates include the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the Karlsruhe, and four speed boats. The German force currently includes about 1,000 troops, both men and women, and they are led by Admiral Andreas Krause who commands the fleet.
The German participation in the UNIFIL force was not an easily decided issue. The decision to send troops, including ground troops, was decided in the Bundestag only last month after intense debates within Germany whether or not to participate. The Germans were apprehensive initially due to the historical connotations of having to possibly point a weapon at Israeli soldiers. German officials indicated at the time that the decision to participate in the force was a crucial decision which will transform Germany’s foreign policy forever.
In addition to the 1,000 troops already deployed to the area, the Bundestag decision calls for a total participation of about 2,400 German troops.
Germany has also deployed a group of 10 police officers and customs agents to Beirut International Airport to help the Lebanese control and monitor incoming cargo to ensure no weapons are being smuggled in. Germany will also supply Lebanon with x-ray containers to be deployed on the Lebanon-Syria border, capable of screening trucks.
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