By John Lee.
Following on from France's move to rapidly supply Kurdish Peshmerga led forces with arms and equipment, Germany's Federal Ministry of Defence has pledged "non lethal aid" to the Iraqi army.
Typically, non-lethal aid is sent when a matter is politically sensitive, or if a government has reservations about supplying one side in a civil conflict with arms.
Non-lethal aid normally refers to radios, night vision goggles, battlefield medicine, body armour and armoured vehicles.
Germany's stance differs from that of France and the US due to controversy surrounding the country's role in WW2 and the subsequent constitutional limits on its armed forces. For example, German involvement in NATO operations since WW2 has been very limited.
However, in a statement that illustrates the severity of the current crisis, the German Foreign Minister noted that lethal aid (weapons) was being considered. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier noted: