Germany reconsiders military intervention in wake of Paris attacks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The German government is considering increasing its military involvement in the fight against ISIS following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week.

If the German government decides to send troops to Syria and Iraq, it will be doing so despite strong public opposition to abandoning the country’s foreign policy, which is largely pacifist.

The idea to increase Germany’s military involvement in the fight against ISIS comes from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party.

According to the Wall Street Journal, German lawmaker Henning Otte said the government should fight terrorism with “all available means,” and also study how the military can join in the effort.

Jürgen Hardt, Merkel’s party’s foreign policy expert, said the German military should participate in operations against ISIS if the operations are carried out by a broader coalition.

“If there is a new a joint effort under the umbrella of the United Nations that includes both Russia and the Western world, Germany should make a substantial contribution to this international coalition,” Hardt said. “Not just in the diplomatic and economic spheres, but also in the military sphere.

While they didn’t rule out a military intervention, government officials urged caution and noted that Germany is already contributing to the fight against ISIS by training and equipping Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, who have been attacking ISIS in the region.

A day after the Paris attacks, Chancellor Merkel promised France “any and all support” in its response to the attacks.

On Monday, Merkel said the international peace process in Syria was moving ahead slowly, but the countries involved in the process haven’t agreed on a clear process to battle the ISIS militants in the region.

“We hope it is fought as coherently as possible and with as much unity as possible between the different forces,” Merkel said at a gathering of world leaders in Turkey. “We are not there yet. It is thus unclear what will be asked of us.”

A source close to Chancellor Merkel said that Germany isn’t considering joining the U.S. led airstrikes against ISIS positions because they are not backed by a U.N. resolution. Instead, Germany is looking to expand its mission in northern Iraq, which has helped train over 4,700 fighters.

In October, the Körber Foundation conducted a poll that showed that Germans are largely against military intervention in the war against ISIS. 63 percent of Germans were in favor of the government having direct talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while 16 percent were in favor of military intervention in Syria.

The aftermath of the U.S. led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Germany’s role in World War II have made military deployment unappealing to most Germans.

“We’ve learned a certain amount of humility as far as military means go,” said Claudia Major, a security specialist at the SWP German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

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