German MPs vote for action against IS in Syria

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Yesterday, 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 following the Paris attacks on November 13. The approved action does not allow for German combat against IS, but approves the military to provide 1,200 troops, and reconnaissance and tanker aircraft as well as a frigate to support allies attacking IS in Syria.

Following the attacks in Paris, 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 largest political party the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) said diplomatic efforts "would not stand a chance" without military action.

A statement from the Germany's army said they are due to deploy their military "on the territory of states whose governments have given approval" to target IS. They are also set to increase soldier numbers in Iraq to 150 where they are training and arming Peshmerga fighters.

Support for German action in Syria follows the first attacks by the United Kingdom when it bombed an oilfield controlled by IS in Omar on Thursday. The United States has led a coalition campaign since 2014 bombing IS in Syria which was joined by France in late September.

A member of Germany's Green Party, Anton Hofreiter, questioned if military action has come too early without a wider plan, saying airstrikes alone "do not amount to a military strategy". Sahra Wagenknecht of Germany's Left Party argued "it is simply a lie" that German action will impact negatively on IS.

Another Green Party MP, Simone Peter, previously questioned the legality of German help in Syria. Germany's Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, said military action is lawful, telling Tagesspiegel newspaper that it "neither violates international law nor the constitution" ((de))German language: ‍verstößt weder gegen das Völkerrecht noch gegen das Grundgesetz..