European leaders were shocked and horrified by the video of the execution of the U.S. journalist, James Foley, by a member of the Islamic State. The video was released on Tuesday on YouTube and shows James Foley, who was abducted in November 2012 in Syria, in an orange gown accompanied by a hooded-man dressed in black and speaking in English with British accent. Mr Foley was a journalist working for GlobalPost and other independent media channels. The German government joined the United States and expressed its “deepest sympathies” to the parents and family of James Foley. The French government also condemned the act that it called “barbaric playing on fear”. The bestial killing of the U.S. journalist has unexpectedly galvanized Europe’s support for military intervention in Iraq with Germany, France, and Italy increasing their interest and commitment to supporting the Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Iraq. In this context, French President, Francois Hollande, has argued that “we are in the most serious international situation since 2001”.
Germany Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also said that he “imagines providing further equipment, including weapons” to Kurdish forces. This is a marked difference in commitment compared to the previous provision of non-lethal military supplies and humanitarian assistance to Christian and Yazadi refugees. In case of Germany itself, this attitude has already been seen as a major departure from the country’s traditional unwillingness to engage in armed conflicts abroad. A similar attitude is also seen in Rome with Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, who briefly visited Iraq recently, stating that “Europe must be present in places like Iraq where democracy is endangered”. He added that his country was ready to provide light arms and ammunition for self-defense in addition to logistical support for weapons supplies.