Notes from Crisis Group/SACEUR meeting at SHAPE,
General James L. Jones, SACEUR
Oliver Owcza, Special Adviser (German)
Ambassador George M. Staples, Political Adviser (US)
GE began by outlining Crisis Group’s work and history, and proposed to concentrate on Kosovo and
SACEUR commented that that process was still ongoing. On Hague co-operation, he noted that 100 of the 120 inductees were now in custody, not a bad score, but that Karadzic and Mladic remained the “sine qua non of success”. He anticipated that they were more likely to surrender than to be captured. He referred several times to his difficult relations with Carla del Ponte, “We’ve got a lot of scar tissue from her”. He feared that
GE asked about readiness of KFOR in the event of future unrest or a Serbian incursion.
SACEUR replied that it was “inexcusable” that only 3000 of the 20000 troops in KFOR in March 2004 were usable for controlling civil unrest, and that too many countries had national caveats and restrictions. He had managed to improve the situation to the point where he reckons that 4500 of the current 18000 troops could be used in a crisis situation. Having large numbers of troops based in Kosovo is not much use if they cannot actually be helpful.
It was also inexcusable that KFOR had been taken by surprise in March 2004. KFOR needs to be transforms, reducing headquarters and logistics staff, and increasing the number of troops visible on the ground, gathering intelligence. NATO also needs to reform its own concept of how intelligence gathered by member states is used.
SACEUR was happier about the availability of reinforcements. Procedures have been changed so that he can deploy both the theatre and the operational reserve forces (one battalion each) immediately without having to seek permission from the North Atlantic Council.
He felt that a Serb incursion was a low risk, with the increasing prominence of Tadic and Davinic, and noted that co-operation with Serbia in the run-up to the Haradinaj transfer had been satisfactory. In the relationship with
NW asked how the NATO/EU relationship was playing out in
SACEUR said that he had no real concerns, especially since the EU mission was effectively a NATO mission under a different flag.
GE asked about NATO’s willingness and readiness to act in
SACEUR responded that as COMUSEUCOM he is responsible for US military activities in
NATO’s moribund Mediterranean dialogue has recently been revived, and
SACEUR had hoped to conduct a major NATO exercise in 2006 in
This doesn’t stop NATO from planning – procedures have been changed so that SACEUR can begin the planning process as long as the Secretary-General and Chair of the Military Committee are kept informed, rather than having to wait for instruction from the NAC. However there remains the problem of a big gap between political willingness to engage in such a mission and the availability of resources.
GE probed at the possible profile of such a mission – mere logistical support for AU activities, or a strong, proactive, civilian protection mandate? How would the AU be fitted into the chain of command?
SACEUR did not explore the options of what a mission might look like, but implied that so far he had only been looking at logistics support for humanitarian efforts; “Humanitarian action and force protection are the easiest, the farther you go the more difficult it gets.” The extent of involvement would depend on the political context. For all possible missions, force protection and security issue must be clearly defined and understood. Some countries (eg
On chain of command, he felt that once the political decision to work with the AU had been made, a way to implement it would be found. However, there will be no NATO mission with a non-NATO commander. The chain of command will be a NATO chain of command.
It can happen very quickly – the
GE asked about the possibilities of NATO involvement in
SACEUR: None. He has spent two years trying to explain
GE asked SACEUR’s views on EU capabilities.
SACEUR noted that the EU was limited to classic peace-keeping, in a benign environment, for a farily short time. “Why call the battle groups battle groups, if thay can only throw food at each other?” Apart from the
SACEUR closed the meeting by regretting that SHAPE had not been more proactive in seeking contact with the NGO community and committing to doing so more in future, both from