Issue Brief on “Germany: Between Two Competing Narratives”

Angela Merkel has categorically ruled out German involvement in any retaliatory military attack on Syria. Merkel said that “Germany will not be militarily involved”[1] contrary to the stance taken by the other EU countries. The United States, France, and Britain responded by launching precision airstrikes on the Syrian military and chemical weapons plants in an instant reaction. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has also voiced concern and said that, “the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and represents a red line that cannot be crossed with impunity.”[2]

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of Syria was alleged to have dropped a barrel bomb containing poison gas on the town of Douma on April 7, 2018 that killed more than 40 people.[3]  Germany initially decided to stay on the sidelines despite being one of the main supporters of disarmament. It vehemently protects the existing conventions of the prohibition on chemical weapons. “We recognize and we support the fact that every effort is being made to signal that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.”[4]  It discourages the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Once the Western strikes had taken place, Merkel however said that, “the military response was successful and appropriate.”[5] Angela Merkel’s categorical preclusion on any German military involvement has been recurring historically as well. In fact, her foreign policy towards, Iran, Syria and Russia had been restricted and raises speculations on her indistinctive options. It creates ambivalence.

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