German MPs vote for action aganst IS in Syria

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Friday, December 4, 2015

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On Friday, German Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to approve a non-combat German role assisting allies bombing Islamic State in Syria. MPs voted 445 to support military involvement, with 146 against and seven abstentions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from file
Image: FNDE.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel brought the vote for military action against IS to parliament due to the Paris attacks on November 13. The approved action does not allow for German combat against IS, but approves the military to provide reconnaissance aircraft, tanker aircraft and a frigate to support allies attacking IS in Syria.

Following the Paris attacks, the United Nations Security Council accepted a resolution drafted by France which allows United Nations members to “take all necessary measures” in the fight against IS. Norbert Röttgen from Germany’s biggest political party the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) said today “diplomacy would not stand a chance” without military action from member states.

A statement from the Germany’s army said they will deploy their military “on the territory of states whose governments have given approval” to target IS. They will also increase soldier numbers in Iraq to 150 where they are training and arming Pesherga fighters.

Support for German military involvement in Syria follows the first attacks by the United Kingdom on Thursday when it bombed an oilfield controlled by IS in Omar. The US have been bombing IS in Syria since 2014 and they were joined by France in November.

A member of Germany’s Green Party Anton Hofreiter questioned whether military action alone is the right approach, saying today: “Airstrikes on their own do not amount to a military strategy”. Speaking after the vote, Sahra Wagenknecht of Germany’s Left Party argued military action against IS will not defeat them: “It is simply a lie that this military deployment will weaken Isis.”

Another Green Party MP Simone Peter had previously questioned the legality of German involvement in Syria. German Justice Minister, Heiko Mass, said German military action is legal, telling Tagesspigel newspaper that it “neither violates international law nor the constitution”, adding “we must stop this terrorist gang of murderers.”

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German army statement on military action against IS in Syria