SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 02 JULY 2002
COOPERATIVE BEST EFFORT 2002
- Electronic media report that early on Tuesday, NATO-led peacekeepers backed by helicopters raided the house of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic. AFP quotes an SFOR spokesman stressing that arresting the former Bosnian Serb leader "was not the aim of the operation." Our focus, the spokesman reportedly said, "was the illegal smuggling network. However (gathered) information may also help us in our efforts to successfully detain Radovan Karadzic." According to the dispatch, the spokesman said a small number of firearms and illegal documents, including forged passports, were seized. The dispatch remarks that Tuesdays raid came after Washington vetoed a six-month renewal of the UN police mission in Bosnia. Meanwhile, Reuters writes that the SFOR operation appeared to be a token raid to prove that the mission was not compromised by the U.S. veto. The operation came as SFORs future was thrown into doubts by the U.S. veto of a fresh UN peacekeeping mandate for Bosnia, observes the dispatch, quoting Mark Wheeler, Bosnia chief for the International Crisis Group, saying: "This looks like a PR exercise and an understandable one. (It was a bid to show that) SFOR remains on the job."
Media continue to focus on Washingtons decision to veto the renewal of the UN peacekeeping mandate for Bosnia in a row over the powers of the new International Criminal Court (ICC). Media appear to understand that while a renewed Security Council authorization is critical for the 1,600 UN police-training force, which the EU is expected to take over at the end of the year, SFOR can continue to operate under the mandate it received during the Dayton peace accords. Some media stress, however, that the deployment of German soldiers in Bosnia-Herzegovina must be approved by parliament and this approval is coupled to a UN mandate.
If the UN mandate was allowed to expire, the 1,600 German troops would, for legal reasons, be forced to withdraw to their barracks until the Bundestag agreed a new mandate for their presence, possibly based on an invitation from the Bosnian government. The only other NATO country which has the same legal problem is Luxembourg, which does not have troops in Bosnia, writes The Independent.
Germany needs a green light from New York for each extension of the mission. The 1,600 German soldiers would have to stay in barracks until their government receives a new authorization from parliament, stresses Le Figaro.
Die Welt quotes the Defense Ministry saying, however, that German soldiers will stay even if the UN mandate was not prolonged after July 3.
Several media see NATO playing down the risks to SFOR of the U.S. decision.
"NATO ambassadors confirmed that SFOR would continue as normal," writes The Times. while the Financial Times stresses that "NATO managed to win a reprieve for SFOR during an emergency meeting of the 19 Alliance ambassadors." A NATO spokesman emphasized that the NATO mission remained unchanged, said the BBC World Service, quoting the spokesman saying: "SFOR will remain deployed in Bosnia. No delegation, including the United States, has indicated a desire to leave . SFOR will continue its work."
Amid reports that the UN has asked the EU to accelerate its take over of the international police operation in Bosnia, Paris LCI television carried EU security chief Solana stressing that Europe is under an obligation to continue the police mission if a compromise over its continuation is not found by July 3. The Daily Telegraph recalls that the EU is scheduled to take over the police mission next January in a trial run of its new civil intervention force. It quotes EU diplomats stressing, however, that it would take at least two months for the EU to fill the breach.
COOPERATIVE BEST EFFORT 2002
- Summing up the Cooperative Best Effort 2002 exercise, Moscows TVS, June 28, highlighted that Soviet-made firearms received "top marks." Western firearms often misfire and there is a waiting list of those willing to use Soviet-made rifles. The Americans are very keen to fire them, said the program, adding: "In the firing part of the training, participants were not happy with western-made assault rifles and sub-machine guns. Firearms used by the British and some others would often get stuck or misfire, whereas Soviet-made firearms operated without a hitch. At least, during the firing part of the exercise, not a single piece of firearms provided by the Georgian side misfired or presented any other problems."
- According to the Financial Times, Germany will miss Wednesdays crucial deadline for approval of Europes next generation Meteor air-to-air missile program, setting back one of the continents most ambitious cooperative defense projects. The newspaper stresses that failure to secure funding for the Meteor at the meeting of parliaments budgetary committee, the last before the summer recess, would mean Germany could not sign for the Meteor until early next year, months behind target. Defense Ministry officials said they still hoped to be able to squeeze approval for the Meteor in a brief, pre-election meeting of parliament in mid-September. However, officials of the budget committee, which has the ultimate say on big spending decisions, said a decision before general elections on Sept. 11 was unlikely. They warned that the formation of a new government after the polls meant the meteor would probably not be tacked until early next year, the newspaper adds.
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