The Dutch are to send jet fighters to Iraq: What the papers say

The Netherlands has committed to sending six F-16 jet fighters to the counter-Islamic State mission in Iraq. Some Dutch papers think the decision is half-hearted and contrived.

Elsevier calls the Dutch decision to send six F-16 fighter planes, 250 air force troops and 130 instructors to Iraq ‘courageous but half-hearted’.

Limiting the jets’ action radius to Iraq, a stipulation made by the Labour party due to the lack of a clear rule of international law which would justify an intervention in Syria, doesn’t make much sense, says Elsevier.


‘The United States are bombing Syria so why can’t the Netherlands join in? Iraq requested a military intervention and Syria is acquiesing. There is not a great deal to choose between the two attitudes,’ the magazine says in an online editorial.

All Rutte has to offer is his ‘understanding’ of the attacks, Elsevier writes. He is wary of coming out in support because the PvdA is ‘caught up in scruples of its own and feels some quibbles about international law justify its stance’.

‘This is what makes the Dutch decision half-hearted: wanting to tackle Islamic extremists and at the same time being the best behaved boy in the classroom,’ Elsevier concludes.


The Volkskrant headlines its editorial: ‘Dutch decision feels contrived’. The IS not only presents a danger to the populations of Syria, Iraq and the neighbouring countries in the Middle East, the paper writes.

‘Jihadists who fought on the side of IS, including Dutch jihadists, are preparing terrorist attacks in Europe. One Dutch fighter, a member of the IS and Al Qaida related organisation Jabath al-Nusra has called for a ‘strong deed against the Dutch authorities’. This is why dealing with ISIS is in the interest of the Netherlands and why the Dutch participation is justified’, the paper says.


The decision that the Dutch will not venture out of Iraq is ‘contrived’ but inevitable as ‘political room for manoeuvre regarding unlimited military intervention was lacking’.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands is more vulnerable to attacks by jihadists. ‘We will have to accept this risk although everything needs to be done to avoid terrorist attacks on the Netherlands and its people’, the Volkskrant concludes.

Long conflict


The Financieele Dagblad voices its concern that the Netherlands will become involved in a long-drawn out conflict. ‘It’s doubtful that F-16s, cruise missiles and unmanned planes will be enough to stop the IS and the deployment of ground troops will be inevitable, the paper writes.


‘Sending F-16s to Iraq means there is a real danger the Netherlands will be sucked into a multiple front war. That is not happening yet but with the experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq in mind, large-scale military intervention must be a means of last resort.

‘It is now a matter of the utmost urgency for the United States and Europe to explore every diplomatic avenue in order to isolate ISIS and find local and regional allies’, the paper says.

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