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Military

Updated: 26-May-2004
 

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

26 May 2004

NATO

  • Czech military offers to train Greeks to deal with chemical attacks on Olympics

IRAQ

  • Powell: U.S. must pursue realistic goals in Iraq
  • Occupation made world less safe, says IISS think tank

GREATER MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE

  • Close allies in Middle East reject Bush offer

NATO

  • According to AFP, a Czech Defense Ministry spokesman said Tuesday the ministry is offering to train Greek soldiers in anti-chemical protection for the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens. The spokesman is quoted saying that if a contract between the two countries is agreed, around 60 soldiers would receive one week’s specialist training. The training would probably take place at the Czech Army’s “Stone Cottage” training facility in the south of the country, where soldiers work directly with toxic materials, such as Sarin, Soman, or mustard gas, he reportedly added. Another option still under consideration was that the Games be protected from terrorist attacks by NATO’s CBRN battalion, the bulk of which are Czech anti-chemical experts. “Nothing is definitely agreed, but training Greek specialists in the Czech Republic would certainly be cheaper for Greece than paying for our experts to come to the Games,” the spokesman stressed. According to the dispatch, he said the option of training Greek specialists in the Czech Republic had been suggested by NATO. “Discussions are on-going and it is not yet known when a final decision will be made,” he added.

IRAQ

  • Secretary of State Powell, responding to Democratic calls for President Bush to obtain a NATO force for Iraq, said Tuesday the United States must pursue “achievable” goals in the country, reports AFP. The dispatch quotes Powell saying, in a televised interview: “Sixteen of the 26 NATO nations are already … there. There is no huge body of troops waiting in NATO to go to Iraq. What the president has to do is to move forward with what is achievable, and not what is seen in a desirable sense…. We have not ignored NATO. But right now, we need to stay the course, … which means getting a new UN resolution and returning sovereignty to Iraq on the first of July.”

  • According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), writes the Independent, the U.S. and British-led occupation of Iraq has accelerated recruitment to the ranks of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and made the world a less safe place. The assessment states that the occupation has become “a potent global recruitment pretext” for Al Qaeda, which now has more than 18,000 militants ready to strike western targets, says the newspaper. The assessment reportedly also claims that although half of Al Qaeda’s 30 senior leaders and up to 2,000 rank-and-file members have been killed or captured, a rump leadership is still intact and over 18,000 potential terrorists are at large, with recruitment accelerating on account of Iraq. The newspaper quotes the IISS report saying that the Iraq invasion “galvanized” Al Qaeda while weakening the campaign against terrorism. At the same time, it has split the Alliance, leaving the United States and Britain isolated.

GREATER MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE

  • According to the Financial Times, President Bush appears to have been rebuffed by several of his closest allies in the Middle East who have declined his offer to join a summit of the Group of Eight industrialized countries which he is hosting next month at Sea Island, Georgia. The article suggests that their rejection is another diplomatic blow to the planned launch at the summit of the president’s Greater Middle East Initiative, intended to foster democratic reforms and good governance in the region. Diplomats reportedly listed the leaders of countries who had been “sounded out” about an invitation, but had said they would not attend as: Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

 



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