|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] The face of the new Europe
In case folks aren't figuing it out, the Wall Street Journal has now
become the best, if not the only, legitimate newspaper and reads much
like the OLD NY Times.
It is worth a digital substcription...
European Army Plans Face Battlefield Reality in Africa
BRUSSELS—In a troubled part of West Africa, Europe is fielding a
military force intended to show it can handle its own security and
reduce its reliance on the U.S.
The coalition of European countries, led by France, is assembling based
on a calculation that helping each other overseas will cement security
and defense back in Europe.
But the effort in the Sahel, the semiarid belt running along the
southern edge of the Sahara, faces an uphill battle. European forces are
scattered across various missions and have differing appetites for
lethal combat. Military and civilian deaths are mounting while the
number of violent attacks by Islamist extremist groups has risen
sharply. Local allies have been accused of human-rights abuses, and one
of them, the president of Mali, was ousted in a coup in August.
France and Estonia this summer deployed elite troops as part of a new
task force that will train local militaries and take part in
counterterrorism operations with them. Commandos from countries
including the Czech Republic, Sweden, Belgium and Italy will join over
the next year.
The Takuba task force, named after a local word for a saber, is a
signature initiative of an effort by French President Emmanuel
Macron—who questions U.S. commitment to Europe—to bolster Europe’s
As the Trump administration has cut troop numbers in Africa and
announced plans for reductions in Europe, Mr. Macron has led calls for
what he has dubbed a European army. Mr. Trump hit out at the suggestion,
tweeting that it was “very insulting” and that Europe should “pay its
fair share of NATO.”
To be sure, no one sees the efforts as a replacement for the U.S.-led
North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The European effort in Africa is
relatively modest and is more of a coalition of forces than a joint army.
But the combination of U.S. reticence and French ambition is pushing the
project forward and bringing in European allies.
“When France gets involved, Europe gets involved,” Mr. Macron said at a
meeting in Mauritania with the leaders of five Sahel countries in June.
“Macron sees the vacuum in international politics and wants to fill it
but doesn’t have the means,” says Yvan Guichaoua, an expert on the Sahel
at the Brussels School of International Studies, part of the U.K.’s
University of Kent.
“France wants to share the burden and the political responsibility and
has persuaded others that the Sahel is a European problem,” said Mr.
France, once the main colonial power in the Sahel, has some 5,100 troops
in the region as part of efforts, launched in 2013, to counter a
militant insurgency. They are spread among three permanent bases in
Mali, Niger and Chad and several other temporary advanced bases in those
countries. Some allies, including Germany, are focused on the United
Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Mali. Others are part of the European
Union’s training mission for the Malian armed forces.
Takuba is aimed at bolstering the performance of local forces in the
fight against Islamist militants by training and mentoring troops from
the region and accompanying them into battle.
Estonia, a tiny Baltic nation with no evident link to Africa, has
assigned a small team of special-forces troops to Takuba.
“Estonia wants to find a solution to a wider European problem,” Estonian
Defense Minister Jüri Luik said in an interview. “If we are ready to
help others, others are ready to help us.”
French soldiers have rotated through Estonia as part of a battalion
aimed at deterring Russia.
“It’s not a bargain, but it’s a spirit of solidarity,” Mr. Luik said.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the media in Mauritania in June.
Photo: Ludovic Marin/Associated Press
“The idea that Europe needs to take more responsibility for its own
security interests is right,” said Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod
in an interview. Danish service members are part of both the French
counterterrorism mission and the U.N. mission. “There’s no conflict
between U.S. interest and European interest. But Europe has been too
reluctant [for] too long to invest in security in our neighborhood.”
Some analysts say European efforts in the Sahel are too small and tasks
too diffuse. But boosters say each country’s different approach adds up
to a more nuanced coalition.
“Europeans won’t all become France look-alikes,” said Olivier-Rémy Bel,
a visiting fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington and a former
French Defense Ministry official. “But by working together they are
bringing their strategic cultures together.”
The European efforts also rely on U.S. intelligence and logistical
support. Europe doesn’t have enough drones to conduct surveillance of
the Sahel, and France needs U.S. aircraft to deploy forces in many of
its missions, according to French officials. Amid rumors that the U.S.
would pull back some troops last year, France’s defense minister quickly
flew to Washington to lobby against it.
“It’s good that France wants to do more,” said a senior U.S. official.
“But I think they have realized that they can’t do it alone.”
Write to James Marson at james.marson-at-wsj.com
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
Being so tracked is for FARM ANIMALS and extermination camps,
but incompatible with living as a free human being. -RI Safir 2013
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