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Military

Updated: 05-Jul-2004
 

SHAPE News Morning Update

05 July 2004

U.S. MILITARY

  • Pentagon's recall of veterans to duty doesn't merit renewed draft, senator says

NATO-OLYMPICS

  • Greece pulling all stops on Games safety

BALKANS

  • Mr. Ashdown calls for overhaul of Bosnia police force
  • Milosevic to open his formal defence at UN war crimes tribunal
  • Kosovo Serbs oppose handover of generals to UN war crimes court
  • Serb general threatens revenge over Hague handover

CAUCASUS

  • Georgian leader says no plans to launch military operation in South Ossetia

TERRORISM

  • Turkish authorities warned al-Qaida planned glider attack during Istanbul NATO summit
  • Libyans arrest group planning attacks on Western interests in Africa

U.S. MILITARY

  • The Pentagon is forcing thousands of discharged soldiers back into the military, but that does not mean the United States needs to reinstate the draft, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said on Sunday. "We cannot bring back a draft now and make some young men and women go into uniform and not bring in a whole lot of others to do different tasks," said Senator John Warner speaking on NBC 's "Meet the Press." The cost of benefits would be prohibitive, he added. ( AP 042147 Jul 04 )

NATO-OLYMPICS

  • Greece is taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the Olympics and has already convinced the world with its preparations, a Greek government source said on Sunday, dismissing reports of shaky security arrangements. The New York Times on Saturday cited unnamed intelligence officials saying construction delays in Olympic projects would prevent the complete testing of measures meant to prevent a terrorist attack during the August 13-29 Games. The newspaper said a security command centre for coordinating intelligence would not be fully operational until mid-July and delays would not leave enough time to correct flaws or train technicians properly. Greece will deploy up to 70,000 military, police and coastguard personnel, while NATO has been called in to deploy surveillance planes, maritime patrols and a force to deal with potential chemical and biological attacks. ( Reuters 041135 GMT Jul 04 )

BALKANS

  • Bosnia peace overseer Paddy Ashdown said on Friday that the ethnically divided police force needed to be overhauled to free the Balkan country from the grip of organised crime and catch wanted war crimes suspects. He set up a commission on Friday chaired by former Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens which will propose changes by the end of 2004. "If Bosnia and Herzegovina is to get into Europe it will have to restructure its police," said Mr. Ashdown. ( Reuters 021558 GMT Jul 04 )
  • Slobodan Milosevic was expected to accuse Western governments of hypocrisy as he opens his defence against war crimes charges, including genocide, at the UN tribunal on Monday. He has pleaded innocent to any wrongdoing, and is expected to challenge the authority of the court. ( AP 050025 Jul 04 )
  • A group representing Kosovo's dwindling Serb community on Sunday protested the planned extradition of four Serb generals indicted by the UN war crimes court for their role in the Kosovo war. The Serbian National Council described the four as "heroes ... who ought to be awarded for being brave professionals at the time of extreme difficulties for Serbia." Serbian authorities began extradition proceedings for the four last week but it remained unclear when they would be handed over. ( AP 041150 Jul 04 )
  • A Serb general wanted for war crimes by a UN court has vowed revenge on those who intend to hand him and three other indicted generals to The Hague-based tribunal. The threat from former army chief-of-staff Nebojsa Pavkovic follows in the wake of authorities starting a process on Thursday that could lead to the extradition of the four to The Hague. "Regardless of what happens to us, revenge would certainly befall them. A deserved punishment will reach all those who make a decision on our extradition," Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti on Sunday quoted him as saying. Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro Vuk Draskovic said the state had to react to "such an open threat." ( Reuters 041044 GMT Jul 04 )

CAUCASUS

  • Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said on Friday that Georgia is not planning a military operation to take control over the separatist South Ossetia region despite rising tensions. "If we wanted to have military interference, we wouldn't be having talks," he told journalists during a visit to Moscow. He said Georgia is willing to give South Ossetia considerable autonomy, similar to what North Ossetia enjoys as part of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, President Saakashvili also told journalists that Georgia has no plans to allow NATO troops on its territory. "Russia should feel itself safe," he said. "Russia's stability and security is an important factor for Georgia's development," he added. ( AP 021506 Jul 04 )

TERRORISM

  • Turkish authorities received a warning that al-Qaida was planning to use a bomb-laden glider in a suicide attack targeting world leaders at the NATO summit in Istanbul, the city's police chief was quoted as saying. In an newspaper interview published on Saturday, Istanbul police chief Cerrah said the intelligence came from foreign sources and described such a plot as farfetched. "To tell you the truth, we did not find it very realistic," he told the daily newspaper Hurriyet . Still, the intelligence was immediately passed on to Turkey's military, which was responsible for ensuring the security of airspace over the city during the summit. A senior police official contacted by The Associated Press on Saturday confirmed Cerrah's statements on condition of anonymity. "They had chosen a glider because radar would not spot it," police chief Cerrah told the newspaper. ( AP 031024 Jul 04 )
  • Libyan security forces arrested members of a terror cell that planned attacks on Western interests in Africa while hiding out in the Sahara Desert , a French news report said Sunday. Several members of Algeria's Salafist Group for Call and Combat were caught in late June at Libya's border with Chad, the report in Le Journal du Dimanche said, citing an unnamed source close to a European counterespionage service. The militants captured by Libya allegedly provided information about a Salafist base in Chad's Tibesti region, the report said. The group used the base to plan attacks against Western interests on African soil, both American and European, the report added. ( AP 041705 Jul 04 )

 



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