Germany to assume command of UN's maritime task force in Lebanon

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The German frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern F218

At 22:00 GMT a German navy group is to relieve Italy in its command of the maritime task force of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) patrolling the coast of Lebanon. French and Italian ships currently surveillance an area twice the size of Lebanon itself.

The German group consists of 2 frigates including carried helicopters, 2 supply ships as well as 4 fast attack craft and will be commanded by Admiral Andreas Krause. The frigate F218 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern under Commander Ulrich Reinecke has left Germany in mid-September and is the flagship of the naval group. Germany has contributed 2.400 personnel for this mission. The German Ministry of Defence reports that 1.500 naval personnel, 100 airlift soldiers, 400 mission control staff, 100 soldiers for training and advice to the Lebanese security forces and 300 personnel as tactical reserve have been sent to the Lebanese coast.

Despite official statements by Beirut, there appears to be a large faction in the government who believe that Germany taking command of the force will lead to a biased execution of the UN mandate in favor of Israel.