Al-Jazeera Net correspondents
BERLIN – It seems that a storm of discussions will storm decision-making circles in Germany in the coming days and weeks regarding the demands directed at Germany to provide more weapons to Ukraine, and to actively participate in the fighter coalition.
Talk of what became known as the "fighter alliance" of Ukraine reached Berlin before German Chancellor Olaf Schultz returned from the G7 summit in Japan, after the statements made by US President Joe Biden in Hiroshima, Japan, regarding the "fighter alliance".
The Fighter Alliance is based on allowing Ukrainian pilots to train on F-16 fighters, before an expected decision to deliver fighters to Ukraine, and German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius believes that any possible German contribution to this alliance will be minor, because Germany itself does not have F-16 fighters.
Compelling reasons for refusal
While the German military and party circles are preparing for this discussion, experts believe that Germany has convincing reasons for rejection in this round, compared to previous rounds of discussion about ammunition, air defense systems, armored vehicles, and Leopard 2 tanks, which are described as the best of their kind in the world.
This is what Raphael Bosong of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) said in an interview with Al Jazeera Net. Bosung says that Germany "will argue with the allies from the outset by saying that it comes second after the United States in terms of providing weapons to Ukraine." Which will give her a comfortable position to refuse.
The expert of the institute, which is close to the German Foreign Ministry and the Federal Chancellery, added that the Berlin government will also say that it "does not have the fighters that are being talked about (F-16) because its army depends on the" Eurofighter" and "Tornado" fighters, in addition to an equally important reason, which is difficulty. Convincing the German public of the feasibility of this step after previous persuasion campaigns to send more weapons to Ukraine.
Analysts believe that there is Germany's generosity in providing weapons, which is known to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who recently visited Berlin. On the same day that Zelensky visited Germany on May 13, the German Ministry of Defense announced the provision of additional military aid worth 2.7 billion euros. The total value of German aid to Ukraine amounts to 16.8 billion euros, according to the German government.
Not to mention the financial aid and others related to reconstruction and the reception of more than a million Ukrainian refugees, and then the list of military aid that Ukraine has obtained so far is long, and comes at the forefront of the air defense system (Iris T), armored vehicles (Marder), tanks (Leopard 1 and 2) and artillery (Mars). 2) APCs and ammunition.
The "German problem" lies in the fact that countries – most notably France, Germany's closest ally, as well as Britain, Belgium, Denmark and Portugal – will also participate in the "fighter alliance"; Which would embarrass the German government if it remained insistent on refusing it.
On the other hand, it seems that the pressure on the German chancellor this time will not be great compared to previous times, particularly when the debate raged about supplying the Ukrainian army with "Leopard 2" tanks. This time, it seems that the hawks in Schultz's government – headed by the chair of the Parliament's Defense Affairs Committee – are more in line with Schultz's position.
This is indicated by the official's statements to the German newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung", which said that the German role in the "fighter alliance" "may be represented in training Ukrainian pilots or providing airports for take-off and flight of these fighters."
And whether the German government will be under great pressure from the American partner to participate in this alliance, the expert on armaments and NATO from the German Foreign Policy Association, Christian Mulling, denied that these pressures are great.
Mulling said – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the idea of the fighters is basically "not American, but rather came from Kiev and the British and Dutch governments were enthusiastic about it," adding that the United States "took time before publicly joining it," and that the Washington government "does not see the initiative as a priority." ".
Regarding the expert's opinion on the nature of the pressures that the German chancellor will be exposed to from supporters of arming Ukraine, Mulling said that the German government with its three parties "learned from previous discussions," which prompts him to say that German government circles will not witness a heated debate as was the case during the discussion of tanks. "Leopard 2".