Merkel refused to be chancellor of war
It has been 16 years since the beginning of the war in Iraq, but Germany is still adamant in its desire not to participate in hostilities. On the eve of the German Chancellor responded with another "Nein" at the request of the Pentagon. This time in Syria.
US withdrawal and the threat of ISIS
Washington’s desire to step up its allies is connected with the events of December last year. Then Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria, where they were stationed to support the Kurdish Popular Self-Defense Detachments (YPG) in the fight against the destroyed Islamic State. At that time, between 2,000 and 2,500 US military men were in Syria.
Trump's decision provoked criticism not only among his opponents, but also friends. Pentagon chief James Mattis could not bear such humiliation and resigned. Later, Trump also began to realize that you should not drive horses. Two months later, in February, he confirmed that 400 bayonets must be left to maintain order for the transition period.
The withdrawal of US troops could lead to increased ISIS. Although the terrorists lost the monolithic state formation that they had before the capture of Mosul and Raqqah, they did not disappear anywhere and spread to the northern regions of Iraq and Syria. Therefore, the Pentagon needs support.
Request from the State Department
At the weekend, US Special Representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, asked the German government to send ground troops to Syria. The Germans did not necessarily have to participate in combat missions, they could “unload” the Americans by providing air support, helping them with logistics, training, and technology, he told the newspaper Die Welt.
To date, Germany’s support for the American coalition in Syria has been limited to Luftwaffe reconnaissance operations. The German Air Force provided intelligence information and carried out refueling of American aircraft. German fighter "Tornado" were deployed in Jordan.
Merkel - for international law
Merkel Trump's answer came two days later. Only a political process based on the UN Security Council resolution “can put an end to the bloodshed in Syria, strengthen confidence and initiate national reconciliation,” the chancellor said. Not directly, but Merkel still rejected Trump's request.
A company to attract allies could have ended in failure if not for France and Britain. Despite the diplomatic crisis caused by the statements of the British ambassador to Trump, the British, together with the French, agreed to increase their military presence in Syria by 10-15 percent.
Why did Germany not venture to send ground troops to Syria?
The first and most common excuse is pacifism. Germany since the end of the Second World War has avoided fighting. The only exception is the war in Yugoslavia. In all other cases, the FRG either did not participate at all (and the loudest example is Iraq of 2003) or was limited to peacekeeping missions, like in Afghanistan, Mali, Sudan, and Somalia.
The pacifist tradition of Germany was reflected in the position of the Bundestag, whose sanction is required for the introduction of troops. The coalition partners of the Christian Democrats are not ready to support such a decision. Germany can not send an army to Syria for "legal reasons", as stated by the deputy from the SPD Fritz Feelgentroy.
The Social Democrat hints at article 26 of the German Constitution, which prohibits the preparation and implementation of aggression against other countries. The legal issues should also include the desire of Berlin to obtain the mandate of the UN Security Council, as Merkel said. The head of the SPD faction, Rolf Mutzenich, believes that the Bundeswehr has already “contributed to the victory over ISIS,” and therefore his mission must be stopped in November.
Merkel does not want to be the chancellor of war
Another factor is related to the personality of Merkel. On the support of the troops asking the administration of Trump, whom the Chancellor considers the destroyer of the liberal world. The German leader hardly has any desire to help a person who for two years threatened to impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2, criticized Germany for low defense spending, introduced tariffs against Germany and forced the German business to leave Iran.
Speaking about Merkel, you must also take into account that she is finishing her career. The attack that repeated today at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Finland calls into question her ability to hold out until 2021. The military operation behind the Euphrates is fraught with sacrifices. And there are threats here not only from ISIS, but also from Turkey, which considers the YPG to be terrorists. And the Bundeswehr will have to support YPG. Merkel does not want to sacrifice his soldiers for Trump in the last years of his reign. In order not to be remembered in the history of Germany as the "Chancellor of War."