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SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 16 AUGUST 2002

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

BALKANS

         NATO winds down operation in Bosnian village to track down Karadzic

         British-led peacekeepers increase security level in Kosovo after receiving threat

         Netherlands to increase troop strength in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

IRAQ

         National Security Adviser sets out U.S. case for toppling Saddam

         U.S. plans for post-war Iraq relief

GERMANY-BUNDESWEHR

         Defense Minister Struck announces acquisition of new APC by 2005

 

BALKANS

 

         NATO troops and helicopters were withdrawing from southeastern Bosnia Friday morning, ending an operation to tighten the noose around the ICTY's most wanted crimes suspect, Radovan Karadzic, reports AFP.  "At this point, we are drawing our forces out of the area, the operation is wrapping up," the dispatch quotes an SFOR spokesman saying.  It notes that while the spokesman gave no other details, he indicated on Thursday that SFOR was "very pleased with the progress" of the operation. 

 

The SFOR operation generated media interest.  CNN and Euronews carried related reports.  Based on a Reuters dispatch, The Guardian, Aug. 15, carried related information under the title,  "NATO troops seek out Karadzic allies." Sueddeutsche Zeitung stressed meanwhile: "SFOR looking for Karadzic aides"

 

Media also observe that the arrest of a former KLA leader continues to stir Kosovo dissent. Euronews reported that thousands of demonstrators gathered in the north-west of Kosovo for the second day Thursday to protest against the arrest of Rustrem Mustafa, known as Remi,  by UN police. 

The Guardian notes that the arrest is the latest of former KLA members and appears to mark the former rebel group's fall from favor.  Against this background, the newspaper quotes UN officials saying the focus on the guerrilla army's wartime activities is expected to be intensified further as the ICTY will issue its own indictments.

 

         British-led peacekeepers serving with KFOR have tightened security after receiving a threat targeting them, a senior military official said today. AP writes that Brigadier Simon Mayall, the British Commander in the central part of the Province, ordered some 5,000 troops under his command to wear helmets and armored vests when guarding the static posts, military bases and at checkpoints. "We had a nonspecific threat that people were planning to target KFOR,"  Brigadier Mayall reportedly said adding: "The threat was ...specific enough in the general sense to make us take it seriously and respond by heightening our security state." Soldiers patrolling the area were not obliged to wear protective gear, but were told to have quick access to it, the dispatch notes.

 

         With an eye on the legislative elections, The Netherlands will deploy two Chinook helicopters as well as an additional 40 to 50 military in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, says De Volkskrant.  It is expected that the government will respond positively to a request for a reinforcement of the NATO troop level.  The Netherlands is leading Task Force Fox, stresses the daily.  Earlier, AFP reported that the Skopje government gave the green light Wednesday for 20 NATO soldiers to oversee the security of foreign election observers in next month's legislative polls.  "Twenty NATO soldiers will be authorized to travel across the country to ensure the security of all foreign election observers," the spokesman quoted a government spokesman saying.  It added that the Sept. 15 legislative elections will be monitored by some 800 foreign observers.

 

IRAQ

 

         The Daily Telegraph writes that the United States sought to stiffen Britain's resolve over war in Iraq Thursday, when Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's National Security Adviser, set out a "very powerful moral case" for ousting Saddam Hussein.  "We certainly do not have the luxury of doing nothing..  If Saddam Hussein is left in power, doing the things that he's doing now, this is a threat that will emerge, and emerge in a very big way," the article quotes Rice saying in an interview with British radio, and adding:  "This is an evil man who, left to his own devices, will wreak havoc again on his own population, his neighbors and - if gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them-all of us.  It is a very powerful moral case for a regime change."  The newspaper suggests her comments appeared to herald the start of a campaign to try to win over public opinion in Europe, where there has been growing discomfort at the prospect of war. The Guardian notes that while Rice was making the case for a pre-emptive strike, the rumble of anxiety in the U.S. was growing louder. A string of leading Republicans have expressed unease at the administration's determination to take on Saddam, but the most damning critique of Bush's war plans to date came Thursday when Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser to the first President Bush, appealed to the president to halt his plans to invade Iraq, warning of "an Armageddon in the Middle East," stresses the newspaper. Scowcroft is quoted warning:  "Israel would have to expect to be the first casualty, as in 1991, when Saddam sought to bring Israel into the Gulf conflict.  This time, using weapons of mass destruction, he might succeed, provoking Israel to respond, perhaps with nuclear weapons, unleashing an Armageddon in the Middle east."   The newspaper remarks that both the U.S. and British governments are expected to time a public relations effort to rebuff the critics and build public support in the immediate run up to an invasion.  It adds that senior Whitehall figures say that crucial in that effort will be evidence that Saddam is buildup up Iraq's NBC capability and planning to develop nuclear weapons. The Washington Post asserts that Rice's responses came in response to questions by a British reporter and do not appear to be part of a new campaign to convince U.S. allies or the U.S. public that was is necessary or inevitable. But, the newspaper notes, they offer a clear guide to the case the administration will make if Bush decides to launch a war.

 

         According to the Financial Times, Aug. 15, the U.S. government has launched a public bidding process for humanitarian relief organizations to work in Iraq and surrounding areas as it prepares for a possible military campaign against Saddam Hussein's regime. In addition, senior members of NGOs say Central command, the military operations center coordinating the war against terrorism, this week asked for a list of U.S. international relief organizations working in or around Iraq.  A document sent by the State Department to NGOs last month, a copy of which has been obtained by the Financial Times, reportedly states:  "The office of northern Gulf Affairs announces an open competition for proposals for humanitarian assistance projects in Iraq and for Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries."  The newspaper observes that the initiatives are the latest in a series of U.S. government moves, such as the boosting of the country's strategic oil reserves, apparently geared to planning for a possible war in Iraq.

 

GERMANY-BUNDESWEHR

 

         Die Welt reports Defense Minister Struck announced at a special commission of the Defense Committee Wednesday that the Bundeswehr will get the first new armored personnel carriers replacing the 30-year-old Marder as of 2005.  According to the newspaper, Struck said the vehicles would be manufactured combining existing and still to be developed components.  Propulsion, turret, and body would have new designs.  The first 20 specimen from a pilot run would be delivered in 2005 with another 390 to follow. The article stresses that the APC is to be transportable by the future Bundeswehr transport aircraft of the Airbus type.  Its cost has been estimated at 2 billion euros, it says, adding that the final decision will be made at a session of the budget committee on Sept. 12.

 

FINAL ITEM

 

 

 

 

 



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