3 options emerge as Belgium considers IS effort

Diplomats from around the world were seeking a global strategy to step up the fight against Islamic State in Paris on Monday. Belgium has received the request to make a contribution. Most Belgian political parties are in favour of the idea of participating in an international mission, the question now remains what exactly Belgium will do. There are 3 options.

"The threat is global and the response must be global," the French host François Hollande told the audience in Paris. "There is no time to lose." Neither Iran nor Syria was in Paris, but Iraq was. Its president, Fouad Massoum, urged for a coordinated military and humanitarian approach, proposing regular strikes against territory in the hands of the extremists and the elimination of their funding. "There can be no sanctuary," he said. "We have to dry up their sources of financing."

It is almost certain that Belgium will also be making an effort to contribute in the international mission. There is a political consensus on the matter. Outgoing Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo had already said "Belgium should join an international coalition" against IS. The Flemish nationalists of N-VA, the Flemish Christian democrats and the Francophone liberals have also said 'yes'.

Even the Flemish socialists and the green party Groen, who are on the opposition benches in Flanders (and most likely will be in the new federal government) support the idea as such, although they do have certain remarks.

The only question that remains is what Belgium can or should do. There are roughly 3 options. 1) Belgium could send "4 to 6" fighter jets that would take part in the bombing. It is not yet clear from which base they would operate in that case. 2) sending humanitarian aid via military transport planes 3) deploying Belgian troops to help out Iraqi soldiers, by training and assisting them.