German Parliament Okays Anti-IS Mission

German Parliament Okays Anti-IS Mission German Parliament Okays Anti-IS Mission

Germany’s Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to join the 60-nation combat mission against the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq. The request came from France after the IS terror attacks in Paris.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition used its majority in the Bundestag on Friday to approve the deployment of up to 1,200 soldiers against the IS under UN and EU collective security laws. The mandate was endorsed by 445 parliamentarians, with 146 others voting no and seven abstaining.

Germany’s opposition Left party rejected the mission, saying it was too hasty and ill thought. The opposition Greens warned that reconnaissance data gathered could be misused by nations involved, so far mainly in anti-IS airstrikes, Deutsche Welle reported.

The deployment outlined earlier this week by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen will involve six “Tornado” reconnaissance warplanes, a refueling aircraft and the German frigate “Augsburg” to help guard a French aircraft carrier, as well as logistics and command personnel and satellite links.

France’s carrier the Charles de Gaulle is in the eastern Mediterranean and is to be visited by French President Francois Hollande on Friday.

The German mandate drafted by the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee seeks “to prevent acts of terror” and would stay in effect until December 31, 2016.

It was not clear whether all 1,200 German military service personnel, including technicians, would be deployed or only a portion, leaving some on standby. Since September 2014, the US has led a coalition of western and Arab nations in airstrikes against IS sites across swathes of northern Syria and western Iraq.

Russia intervened from September this year, using leased bases in Syria’s western coastal region of Latakia. Moscow has long allied itself with Syria President Bashar al-Assad.

Ahead of Friday’s vote, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas had told Berlin’s “Tagesspiegel” newspaper that he had no doubts about the validity of the deployment under collective security frameworks.

“The German public can be certain: The Syria operation transgresses neither against international law nor against Germany’s Basic Law (constitution),” Maas said.