German parties open to backing military option in Idlib

German parties open to backing military option in Idlib

German political parties have said they are open to supporting their government in possible military intervention in case chemical weapons are used in Syria's Idlib.

The support came from the government and opposition parties, including two parties from the coalition. The parties include the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Free Democratic Party (FDP) - a liberal party represented by 80 lawmakers in Bundestag - and the Bündins 90/Greens (Union 90/Greens), which is a center-left party that has 67 MPs.

Germany should not shy away from this issue, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Norbert Röttgen, told newspapers of the Funke media group yesterday. The German military, the Bundeswehr, should, in principle, be prepared to "participate in reconnaissance flights, in damage analysis after combat missions and in combat missions," said the CDU politician. Sometimes "even retaliation for a poison gas attack is a deterrent to the further use of chemical weapons."

The CSU Bundestag member Christian Schmidt told German tabloid Bild that, "Germany must be ready to participate in international - also military - actions that will prevent a bloodbath in the northern Syrian Idlib region."

FDP foreign expert Bijan Djir-Sarai underlined that the international community should not stand by in the case of poison gas use. "For Free Democrats, it is important that the German Bundestag is consulted before the Bundeswehr is sent as a parliamentary army in a possible mission," he added.

The Green-European politician Franziska Brantner also said in Bild: "The goal must be to protect the people in Idlib [and] then all options must be checked."

The federal government had left open on Monday a stake in a military strike in the case of a Syrian poison gas attack.

Bild had previously reported that the Ministry of Defense had allowed an examination of how the Bundeswehr could bring in possible military retaliation against Bashar Assad's army. The ministry is considering joining the alliance of the U.S., U.K. and France in the future. The reason for the examination was reportedly due to a request by the U.S. to the German Chancellery.

Andrea Nahles, leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) - a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition - ruled out backing any German involvement.

"The SPD will not agree - either in Parliament or in the government - to the participation of Germany in the war in Syria," Nahles said in a statement, adding the party backed diplomatic efforts to avert a humanitarian crisis.

Hans-Peter Bartels, parliamentary ombudsman for military issues, said participation in military strikes could violate the constitution unless there was a mandate from NATO, the United Nations or the European Union, or at least a U.N. Security Council resolution.

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