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Steinmeier considers weapons exports to Iraq

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Steinmeier considers weapons exports to Iraq
Photo: DPA
11:16 CEST+02:00
The conflict against religious minorities in Iraq has more officials speaking out in support of exporting arms to the marginalised groups.

"As long as the threat is holding, I will not rule out the option that [Germany] will also deliver weapons ," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the evening news programme Heutejournal on Wednesday night.  "The brutality of the terrorist militia Islamic Stat (IS) could make it necessary."

Steinmeier voiced his options despite opposition from his own party, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), which principally bans the sales of arms into conflict zones.

"The principles must also take into account that there are exceptional circumstances where a political decision in the interest of political security," he said.

Other voices are agreeing that exceptional circumstances mean it may be time to reconsider.

Gerda Hasselfeldt, head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party of Angel Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told the Neuen Osnabrücler Zeitung that when it comes to preventing a genocide, Germany should take weapons exports into consideration.

Sending troops to the conflict in Northern Iraq is also still a possibility according to CDU party principles, however  CDU foreign policy expert Karl-Georg Wellmann said it would be difficult. "The German air force currently lacks the logistical capabilities to do so."

Hans-Peter Bartels of the SPD and chairman of the defence committee in the Budestag remains sceptical.

"A bidding war dealt in arms helps nei ther the refugees or us," he was quoted as saying in the Handelsblatt  on Thursday.

It was announced on Tuesday that Germany has already sent non-lethal aid, such as armoured vehicles, helmets and night-vision equipment to Iraq. 

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