HELSINKI — Nordic governments are awaiting formal requests from France to provide military and logistics support as Paris intensifies its war against the Islamic State , in the Middle East, in the wake of the attacks on the French capital on Friday Nov. 13.
"While we are not at war, we stand together with France and the European Union. We are waiting on France to specify to us what form of support they want," said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
Sweden, based on a "high threat" probability from its national counterterrorism intelligence agencies, raised its threat level from 3 to 4 on a 5-point scale on Wednesday.November 18.
Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said Sweden is ready to open bilateral talks with France to analyze the detail of any formal request for support and to establish what non-aligned Sweden could "practically and potentially provide" in terms of military and intelligence resources. to France in the fight against ISIS.
Denmark has responded to the attacks in Paris with a proposal to accelerate the redeployment of an F-16 fighter squadron to Iraq or Syria. The Danish squadron recently returned to Denmark for "rest and maintenance" after a yearlong mission in northern Iraq, said Kristian Jensen, Denmark's foreign minister.
"We are ready to send the fighter squadron back to Iraq as soon as possible, because it is an important part of the efforts against the Islamic State. Depending on developments, our fighters could also be used in Syria," Jensen said.
Denmark, which joined the US international coalition’s fight against ISIS in October 2014, had not planned to redeploy the F-16 squadron to the Middle East until the second or third quarter of 2016. The Paris attacks has changed this timetable, and the squadron could now be redeployed in the first quarter of 2016.
The Danish F-16 squadron carried out 547 missions over northern Iraq during its 12-month mission, dropping an estimated total of 503 bombs, according to Danish government data.
Denmark’s defense opt-out arrangement with the European Union (EU) means that the country is constrained from taking part in any EU-led military mission or operations against ISIS in the Middle East.
However, the defense opt-out, which was negotiated as part of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, does not prohibit Denmark from reaching a bilateral deal to support France in its war against ISIS.
Norway, a non-EU Nordic NATO state, is expected to respond positively to an awaited formal request for military support from France. The expectation is that Norway could provide an F-16-based fighter squadron and special forces units.
Norway provided an Air Force F-16 squadron as part of the UN-NATO-led international coalition’s Operation Unified Protector in 2011. The operation enforced an arms embargo and maintained a no-fly zone to protect Libya’s civilian population from attacks by forces commanded by the Moammar Gadhafi Muammer Gaddafi regime.
Finnish legislation prevents the country’s armed forces from engaging in direct support and military combat operations in another country. Participation in crisis management operations is, however, allowed. under the present Act.
The military assistance legislation is being amended under a new legislation Bill that is set to come before the Finnish parliament , the Eduskunta, in January or February. of 2016.
The new law would will make it possible for Finland to provide military support to "friendly" countries that request it both bilaterally or as well as under the mutual assistance security guarantee clause 42.7 contained in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, and which was invoked by France after the Paris attacks.