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SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 15 NOVEMBER 2002

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

NATO

          NATO training exercise simulates high-tech war

EU

         Turkey: no date for EU negotiations

NATO SUMMIT
         U.S. fighter jets to patrol over NATO summit
IRAQ

         Britain in push for NATO involvement in Iraq

         We don't want to be trigger-happy, Blix tells Bush

WAR ON TERRORISM

          German parliament extends mandate for troops in U.S.-led anti-terror campaign

AFGHANISTAN
         NATO emerges from bunker with new role in Afghanistan

         Azerbaijan's government approves peacekeeping mission for Azerbaijan

BALKANS

         U.S. rethinks NATO's Macedonia (sic) mission

         Annan to visit Sarajevo as UN readies to end decade-long presence in Bosnia

 

NATO

 

          About 1,200 multinational soldiers have been waging a high-tech war during a NATO two-week exercise called Cannon Cloud '02 held at the Warrior Preparation Center not far from Ramstein Air Base, writes Stars and Stripes. The exercise served as a "command and control exercise where rapid reaction decision-making was achieved," said British Army Maj. Gen. James Short, the exercise planner.

 

EU

 

         Le Figaro reports that the European commissioner on enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, said yesterday he was opposed to fixing a date during the upcoming Copenaghen summit to begin EU membership negotiations with Turkey. The article quotes him saying: "The time is not right for that. We must stick to our guidelines: first we fulfill the political criteria, and then we decide upon a date."

 

NATO SUMMIT

 

         According to The Times, yesterday the Czech Republic's Senate voted 67-3 to accept American help in guarding the country's airspace. The Americans are to provide F15 and F16 fighter aircraft to protect the skies over Prague during the Summit. NATO is also to supply Awacs early warning aircraft to watch for suspect planes over the three-day-Summit. The F15s and F16s will be under the command of the Americans but the Czech Defense Minister will have to approve any use of force to shoot down a suspected hijacked airliner.

 

IRAQ

 

         Britain is pushing for NATO to be given some role in either a military operation against Saddam or in a post-war phase, diplomats said yesterday according to the Financial Times. The newspaper notes that  Lord Robertson reportedly said recently: "I am not going to wander into the realm of speculation of what role NATO would play in Iraq, it is in the hands of the United Nations." But he was also quoted saying that President Bush was now "emotionally and politically and strategically committed to use the alliance. That is why at the Prague NATO summit that will be the first port of call in terms of rallying support for what we are seeing unfolding." The newspaper reports the diplomats saying further that "Britain wants to make NATO relevant and show that it can act collectively."

 

         The Times reports that while President Bush has warned that Washington will have "zero tolerance" for any Iraqi "deception, denial or deceit". Hans Blix, the chief UN for chemical and biological weapons has privately told skeptical Security Council members: "We don't want anyone to be trigger-happy." Likewise, Mohammed Baradei, chief nuclear inspectors told The Times that he would not rush to judgment. Much of the discussion revolves around the definition of "material breach" by Iraq of its obligations, a violation that would permit a resumption of hostilities. Although Washington reserves the right to report a Iraqi violation to the UN Security Council, the decision on what constitutes a "material breach is likely to fall to the chief UN weapons inspectors the newspaper observes.  The Guardian writes that the UN Secretary General Annan, counseling prudence, warned President Bush over his plans for an attack on Iraq, urging him not to look for "a flimsy, hasty excuse to go to war" stressing that only in the presence of reasonable and credible circumstances there will be general acceptance for a military action. According to The Independent, the Bush administration has been training many Iraqi exiles in economics, accountancy and finance to oversee the transformation of the Iraqi economy in the aftermath of military strikes. Those preparations, are entitled the "Future of Iraq Project", according to the newspaper.

 

WAR ON TERRORISM

 

          AP reports that German lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to extend by  a year the mandate of their country's troops in the U.S.-led war against terrorism. The unchanged mandate, which also covers air transport support for the anti-terror campaign, sets at 3,900 the maximum number of German troops that can take part.

 

AFGHANISTAN

 

         NATO is set to take up its first official role in Afghanistan by providing support for the  ISAF in Kabul, The Guardian reports. NATO's military headquarters at Mons in Belgium will put together a force for ISAF's next six-months mandate in the Kabul area and provide planning, strategic airlift, logistics, communication and intelligence support, the newspaper adds. It will led by the German and Dutch troops who are to replace the current Turkish command. This new role and the likely extension of the peace-keeping mission in Macedonia (sic) underline that the Alliance is busy and relevant to transatlantic security, according to a senior NATO official cited by the newspaper.

 

         An AP dispatch reports that Azerbaijan's parliament overwhelmingly approved legislation that will allow peacekeepers to be sent to Afghanistan. Twenty-eight soldiers, one officer and one ensign will be part of the Turkish contingent.

 

BALKANS

 

         According to the Financial Times the U.S. has unexpectedly reversed its objections to NATO continuing its military mission in Macedonia (sic) as a consequence of the new Turkish's government refusal to allow the EU access to NATO assets. Diplomats reportedly say the move is a snub to France which wanted the EU to take over the operation and undermines Europe's plans to launch its own military operations. Washington's unexpected intervention means France's ambitions to give ESDP a push have been thwarted, the newspaper concludes.

 

         An AFP dispatch reports that UN Secretary General Annan is to visit Bosnia on Sunday as the UN prepares to end its presence in the Balkan country by handing over its police mission to the EU at the end of the year. Although the seven-year-long UN police mission is generally seen as a success, the UN's engagement in Bosnia will be remembered by a failed peacekeeping mission that saw the eruption of the bloody 1992-95 war. Annan reportedly said on several occasions that the UN experience in Bosnia was "one of the most difficult and painful" in UN history.

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