German Cabinet approves IS mission

The German cabinet has backed plans for military support in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.

Tornado reconnaissance aircraft, a naval frigate and a 1,200-strong force will be sent to the region under the proposals – expected to go for a parliament vote as early as Wednesday.

Germany decided to join the fight against IS after an appeal by French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the November 13 Paris attacks.

Its forces will not engage in combat.

MPs are expected to back the mission, which would become Germany’s biggest current military operation abroad.

A debate and vote on the UK’s involvement in fighting IS in Syria are due in the British parliament on Wednesday.

The Bundestag (lower house) will assess the proposals on Wednesday and a vote is expected by the end of the week, reports say.

Last week, Germany agreed to send 650 soldiers to Mali, to join 1,500 French troops deployed to fight IS militants.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Bild newspaper before yesterday’s cabinet meeting: “We are doing what is militarily necessary, what we can do best, and what we can back politically. Against an opponent like IS we need plenty of stamina.”

Germany’s armed services association cautioned against entering a conflict without clearly defined goals.

“I’m working on the basis that this fight, if it is taken seriously, will go on for well over 10 years,” the association’s chairman Andre Wuestner told German TV.

Green Party chairwoman Simone Peter was concerned about the legal basis for the mission without a UN resolution: “This deployment also has no political goal, no political concept and that’s why it’s irresponsible.”

–BBC

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