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Merkel Wants To Join Attack on Syria, as SPD Government Partner Argues It Is Illegal

Sept. 12, 2018 (EIRNS)—Possible German participation in Anglo-U.S.-led strikes against Syrian military forces was debated in the Bundestag yesterday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel arguing in favor. “It cannot be the German position to simply say ‘no’, no matter what happens in the world,” she said, reported Reuters. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), the government coalition partner of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), however, is opposed. SPD Secretary General Andrea Nahles said that there can be no German involvement in military action in Syria without the approval of the UN Security Council and/or a vote of the Bundestag.

“As long as this doesn’t happen, we Social Democrats can’t agree to a violent intervention in Syria,” she said.

The Bundestag scientific service, in response to a request from the Linke party, produced a 10-page document that found, that if, as is being debated now in NATO and in the Defense Ministry, the German Air Force were to join combat missions of the other Western air forces in Syria, it would be against international law. Retaliatory strikes in response to alleged use of chemical weapons, as some have proposed, are not covered by international law.

In an op-ed yesterday, Nina Werkhäuser, of the German news service Deutsche Welle, backs the SPD and the Bundestag scientific service on that point. She writes in DW’s English website:

“It’s not clear why Chancellor Merkel should deviate from this [her previous] policy now. A Bundeswehr combat mission in Syria would require a United Nations mandate, an unlikely scenario given Russia’s ability to veto it in the Security Council. In addition, Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, would have to give its blessing, which is also far from certain with the conservatives [CDU/CSU] and the SPD divided....

“Whether the Bundeswehr should play a larger role in multinational military missions is something that can be debated,” Werkhçuser concludes. “However, speculating about a response to the battle for Idlib, which will leave civilians there with their backs to the wall, is not a suitable starting point for that debate.

“More bombs and missiles definitely won’t help the people of Syria.”

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