Thursday, March 27, 2008

EU Military Operations in Africa

Judah Grunstein has an interesting piece on EU military operations in Chad. It seems that the scarce resource is not boots on the ground but logistical support. European troop movement capabilities are limited. Transportation had to be leased from a Ukrainian contractor, although Russia did supply eight helicopters. Troop transport is a prosaic business. It doesn't have the glamor of nuclear submarines or nuclear weapons and doesn't get the headlines. But without it Europe (and France, to the extent that it uses Europe for projecting its own force) remains impotent while consoling itself with the hypothetical ability to destroy any city anywhere on earth at any time. Of course impotence is a good way to stay out of trouble, but sometimes it's best not to avoid trouble, and when the time comes it's best to be prepared, as the Boy Scouts like to say.

2 comments:

Durando said...

Lots to digest in the cited article. From where I sit, I'm happy the EU finally got it together to deploy someone. It is true that the French explained their reluctance because of their already heavy presence in Chad. It's an acceptable, if convenient, explanation of events. It is also true that force-generation talks were hung up on logistical airlift capabilities--this is a constant with any sort of mission in any military anywhere. This is a widely reported fact and, although lamentable, isn't newsworthy except when spending goes to new offensive weaponry like attack subs. Another interesting feature of the EUFOR mission is that, like many recent UN missions (Haiti and DRC), its mandate is rather aggressive, allowing EU forces to engage Sudanese djanjaweed, etc., pre-emptively to protect refugees and IDPs. I've heard, but not verified, that it allows said forces to ignore the internationally recognized border. Sudanese complaints about border violations will be the order of the day; the recent comments of the EUFOR CO, LTG Nash about changing the rules of engagement to include a 5km buffer with the IRB are probably (I hope) nonsense. Changes of rules of engagement are rarely (never?) transmitted to the press for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

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