German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to support France in its war against the Islamic State.
“Today the government took difficult but important and necessary decisions,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said following a meeting with lawmakers. “We are standing with France, which was hit by these inhuman attacks from IS.”
Von der Leyen went on German television Thursday and argued the assistance would not be considered an attack on a sovereign nation. She said Germany is fighting a “murderous gang.”
“There are risks. It is a dangerous operation, no doubt. But there are also defense mechanisms set up by the coalition, which has been conducting attacks for a year and we know that not a single aircraft has been downed,” she said.
The proposal follows France’s invocation of article 42.7, a never used clause of the EU treaty.
The clause stipulates that “if a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations charter.”
The invocation was supported unanimously during a “highly charged” meeting of EU defense ministers in Brussels on November 17.
France said it would conduct bilateral negotiations with other EU states on marshalling military support.
“France can’t do everything. It can’t act alone,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defense minister. “Every country said, I am going to help you. That can take different forms. There are many types of assistance possible, whether in the Middle Eastern arena or elsewhere.”
Berlin plans to commit four to six Tornado jets, help refuel planes, provide satellite support and deploy a frigate to protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq from the eastern Mediterranean.
The plan must be approved by parliament and the German government will draft a proposal by Tuesday according to Henning Otte, the Christian Democratic party Union spokesman on defense matters.
The proposal is expected to move through parliament without significant opposition.
Sahra Wagenknecht, a member of the National Committee of the Left Party and the Bundestag, raised concerns.
“If you send German Tornados to Syria, you only create more terrorists and increase the danger of an attack in Germany,” Wagenknecht said.