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Updated: 26-Jul-2004
 

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

26 July 2004

BALKANS
  • U.S. hunts Islamic militants in Bosnia

ESDP

  • France urges Baltic involvement in EU defense on Estonia visit

SUDAN

  • Britain’s plan to send 5,000 troops

BALKANS

  • According to The Daily Telegraph, American military intelligence and the CIA have deployed hundreds of officers in Bosnia to track suspected Islamic militants amid concern that the country has become a refuge, recruiting ground and cash conduit for international terrorism. The newspaper, stresses that in five months the EU will take over from NATO troops in Bosnia and the U.S. is therefore preparing for a huge cut in its military presence in the country. Local sources allegedly said that despite this, about 300 intelligence personnel will monitor the activities of Muslim foreign fighters who settled peacefully in Bosnia after the end of the war. They are believed to be providing documents and weapons to active mujahedeen returning to the country after tours abroad, adds the daily. “There is a flow of people heading in from Chechnya and Afghanistan on to Europe and back, then to Iraq…They are spreading the story that Bosnia is a one-stop shop close to Europe for terrorism needs: guns, money, documents,” one official is quoted saying. In one of the biggest deployments by U.S. intelligence anywhere in the world, comments the daily, the teams are led from a compound in the suburb of Butmir, south of Sarajevo, where NATO’s peacekeeping force has its headquarters and they are combing the country for militant support networks and monitoring Muslim charities accused of raising funds for terrorists. But there are observers, argues the paper, who accuse the U.S. of using a heavy-handed approach in its anti-terror campaign in Bosnia, detaining and releasing suspects without charge, and devoting the vast majority of its resources to keeping tabs on local Muslims rather than the hunt for wanted war crimes suspects such as Radovan Karadzic.

ESDP

  • AFP, July 23, reported that French Defense Minister Alliot-Marie urged the EU’s three new Baltic members, all present in Iraq, to play an active role in the EU’s emerging defense policy, during a three-day visit to Latvia and Estonia which ended in Tallinn on Friday. “Estonia and the Baltic states bring a little bit of the means at their disposal, they bring a lot of their know-how and their expertise in certain domains, and they bring a lot of their political will,” she reportedly told a news conference. The largely pro-American eastern countries, speculated the news agency, tend to see NATO as the lone guarantor of their security, while France argues the NATO and EU defense roles should be complementary. Winding up her visit in Tallinn she reportedly said terrorism remained a major risk in Europe and the EU’s foremost mission was to be capable of defending its territory and its citizens. In the Latvian capital Riga on Thursday, the report concluded, she said that France wanted to “participate in a concrete way in the surveillance of the airspace of the Baltic States.” Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia do not have reconnaissance aircraft of their own, points out the dispatch, and rely on fellow NATO members to patrol their skies.

SUDAN

  • The Sunday Times, July 25, wrote that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is to fly to Sudan to assess Britain’s response to the Darfur crisis and among the options under consideration are the deployment of up to 5,000 British troops, although the African Union, which is trying to arrange peace talks between Darfur rebels and the government in Khartoum, is only placing observers in the region. Prime Minister Blair, argues the paper, has already warned that the UN has reacted too slowly to the crisis and the chief of the general staff, General Jackson, said on Friday that despite troop commitments in Iraq and elsewhere, Britain could send a force if the situation did not improve. “If need be, we will be able to go to Sudan…I suspect we could put a brigade together very quickly indeed,” he was quoted as saying. Britain, added the newspaper, is also pushing for a vote on a UN Security Council resolution threatening Khartoum with sanctions unless it arrests the Arab militia leaders responsible for atrocities in Darfur. The Sudanese government however, notes the article, has warned Britain and the U.S. not to interfere in its affairs, rejecting any outside military intervention.


 



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