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    Why it matters

    Berlin traditionally prefers to stay out of international conflicts, but seems to have changed its tune with the approval of a deployment to Syria.

  • Facts


    • Germany’s parliament on Friday backed the country’s Syria mission, with 445 lawmakers voting in favor, 146 voting against and seven abstaining.
    • The vote follows a cabinet decision this week to deploy reconnaissance jets, refueling aircraft, a frigate and up to 1,200 military personnel in the fight against Islamic State terrorists.
    • British jets bombed IS sites in Syria on Wednesday after the U.K. parliament authorized airstrikes there.
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Source: Patrick Pleul/DPA
Source: Patrick Pleul/DPA

Pandering to voters’ fears isn’t going to solve the problems in the Middle East, Guttenberg says. Source: Patrick Pleul/DPA


A mandate for another international operation is being rushed through parliament at breakneck speed. Germany plans to send up to 1,200 soldiers into one of the most complex conflicts on earth, as well as Tornado jets, a frigate, air tankers and satellite reconnaissance, all as a contribution to – what exactly?

Combating terror? Resolving civil war? Establishing a new order in the Middle East? Ending the flood of refugees to Europe? A little of everything, but no more than that. But also no less, because all questions are very closely interconnected. And none are in Germany’s hands alone.

Wouldn’t we be better advised to retreat into our default mode of staying out of things, leaning back with a self-satisfied sense of virtue?

After all, to expect sustainable success in the short-term is hardly realistic. Few things will work immediately. The conflicts in Syria and the Middle East are too complex for that, and the participants’ agendas far too different.

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