BERLIN — The German Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to send reconnaissance planes, a frigate and midair fueling capacity to the Middle East to aid the campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, although German forces will not be involved in direct combat like airstrikes.
The vote — with 445 in favor, 146 against and seven abstentions — was expected, given the large parliamentary majority commanded by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “grand coalition” government of center-right and center-left.
A sprinkling of center-left lawmakers from the Social Democrats joined the opposition — Greens and the Left party — in voting against the deployment.
Even 70 years after World War II, Germany remains wary of using its military outside the NATO alliance, and such missions require parliamentary approval.
The government said action was essential because the turmoil in the Middle East was increasingly affecting events at home, from the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees to terrorist alerts and risky missions overseas for Germany’s all-volunteer armed forces. Continue Reading…