Tag Archives: Security

EU diplomacy sidelined Yemen conflict

At present there is a visible diplomatic apathy in the EU, regarding the protracted Yemen conflict, blaming on too many foreign actors, stirring the ongoing feud, which have already degraded into proxy war through involvement of multiple external players, supplying belligerent parties with weapons. However the revenues of arms exporters, namely the Europeans. are not the sole responsible for the warfare, continuously claiming lives of Yemenis, and escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The desire of the European Union to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, keeps out of focus numerous Tehran illicit activities, aggravating various conflicts, including civil war in Yemen, increasingly destabilizing the entire region. The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which damaged half the production, evoked accusations from the West, presuming the rockets were launched from Iran’s territory. Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the offensive, claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. However Iran responded reasoning the attack on Aramco oil plans as an act of “legitimate defense” of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Since regional tensions escalated following the attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities mid-September, the Yemen conflict was upgraded on diplomatic agenda. Especially in view of the protection of vessels in the Persian Gulf from Iranian attacks, as well as the prevention of the illicit arms trade and the protection of civil aviation.

Nowadays there is growing concern among foreign policy experts, pointing at intensified engagement between the Houthi leadership with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hezbollah chiefs, conspiring operations to strengthening Iran position in the Strait of Hormuz, and weakening Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

In the context of the escalations of tensions, on October 21-22 the diplomats have been gathering for a conference in Bahrain (Manama) to discuss the security issue in the Gulf. The even has been co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland, and is regarded as a part of Warsaw Process (Ministerial’s Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group). So far there have been little information about the EU diplomacy participation, and input of the representatives of the European External Actions Service – who claim to be highly sought after “global player”. The conference was attended on a diplomatic level by a delegation representative, the spokesperson confirmed, adding the EEAS position remains unchanged, based on the EU Council conclusions.

The EU continues to reaffirm that only a negotiated and inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen.The EU has contributed with over €560 million in assistance since the beginning of the conflict.

What is defined nowadays by experts as a “proxy war” erupted in in 2014, when Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa. However, in reality it was a new chapter in a long saga of confrontation between the Iran-backed Shia movement and loyalist forces since 2004.

The United Nations Security Council reacted upon belligerent spell of Houthi with resolution 2201 “deploring” their “unilateral actions’ ” and calling for the immediate halt of hostilities. The message of the global community has repeated several times, condemning the violence, including after March 26, 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition that included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco launched its first military operation.

The Yemeni Civil War is a protracted conflict (since 2015) between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.

According to the UN report due to the protracted conflict, Yemen is the most affected country with in acute need for humanitarian aid for 24.1 million people, including children, who are prime victims of the bloodshed and hunger.

In September 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit a major oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia, which blamed Iran for the attack.

Merkel wishes Brexit on “good terms”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said  she wanted the UK and the European Union to part on good terms.

I care now that we and Britain divorce in a good process so that afterwards we can still work closely together in the areas where we must cooperate – on defense, on domestic security, on policing, on combating terrorism, and in trade too, and so that Britain can take part in our research projects if they want,Merkel said.

NATO continues to support Afghanistan

At NATO Summit the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the Alliance long-term commitment to Afghan government, advising, assisting the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,. “We will continue our assistance by extending our financial sustainment of the Afghan forces thought 2024, and by pleading to fill standing shortfalls, especially in priority areas”, – Stoltenberg said. He also underlined that regional actors have an important role to play in support of peace and stabilization in Afghanistan.

Lailuma SADID, reknown Afghan journalist, and former diplomat explains challenges of NATO policies in her country, pointing at urgent need to take an action stopping neighbouring countries to sponsor Taliban, and other terrorist groups. Critical of Afghan government SADID insists on democratic change as major factor to engage people, convincing them best future lies within Afghan state, and construction of a fair society, but not with Islamists mouvements. (VIDEO: Lailuma SADID from NATO Summit, Brussels)

AMENDED 12/07/2018  North Atlantic Treaty Organization chief Jens Stoltenberg expects leaders to agree to fund Afghan security forces until 2024, despite public frustration in the West about their involvement in the ongoing conflict seeming endless. “We have added around 3,000 more trainers to our mission,” he said.adding “Att the Summit, I expect we will also agree to extend funding for the Afghan forces beyond 2020”, Stoltenberg added.

“We will be deploying an additional 440 personnel to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and I think that shows when NATO calls, the UK is one of the first to step up,” Prime minister Theresa May said to press, commenting on Afghanistan.

Europe strengthens its security

“Europe must take greater responsibility for its own security and underpin its role as a credible and reliable actor and partner in the area of security and defence. The Union is therefore taking steps to bolster European defence, by enhancing defence investment, capability development and operational readiness. These initiatives enhance its strategic autonomy while complementing and reinforcing the activities of NATO, in line with previous conclusions. The European Council:

  • calls for the fulfilment of the PESCO commitments and the further development of the initial projects and the institutional framework, in a way that is fully consistent with the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence and the revised Capability Development Plan adopted within the European Defence Agency. A next set of projects will be agreed in November 2018. It invites the Council to decide on the conditions for third State participation in PESCO projects;
  • welcomes progress on military mobility in the framework of PESCO and EU-NATO cooperation, expects the military requirements under the EU Action Plan on military mobility now to be finalised, and calls on Member States to simplify and standardise relevant rules and procedures by 2024. These efforts, which should fully respect the sovereignty of the Member States, be mutually reinforcing and follow a whole-of-government approach, will be reviewed yearly on the basis of a report by the Commission and the High Representative, starting in spring 2019;
  • calls for the swift implementation of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme and for further progress on the European Defence Fund both in its research and capability windows;
  • welcomes the work undertaken to strengthen civilian CSDP and calls for an agreement on a civilian CSDP Compact by the end of this year, thus providing a new EU framework for civilian crisis management and CSDP missions, with ambitious commitments at EU and national level. It recalls that military and civilian aspects need to be addressed in a comprehensive manner with a focus on concrete deliverables;
  • welcomes the Joint Communication on Europe’s resilience to hybrid and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear-related threats and calls for the adoption as soon as possible of a new EU regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. Following the extraordinary Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the EU commits itself to supporting the implementation of its outcomes;
  • invites the High Representative and the Commission to present, in cooperation with the Member States and in line with the March 2015 European Council conclusions, an action plan by December 2018 with specific proposals for a coordinated EU response to the challenge of disinformation, including appropriate mandates and sufficient resources for the relevant EEAS Strategic Communications teams;
  • stresses the need to strengthen capabilities against cybersecurity threats from outside the EU and asks the institutions and Member States to implement the measures referred to in the Joint Communication, including the work on attribution of cyber-attacks and the practical use of the cyber diplomacy toolbox;
  • calls for further coordination between Member States and, as appropriate, at EU level and in consultation with NATO, to reduce the threat from hostile intelligence activities;
  • calls for further deepening of EU-NATO cooperation, in full respect of the principles of inclusiveness, reciprocity and decision-making autonomy of the EU, including through a new Joint Declaration, building on the progress made in implementing the 2016 Joint Declaration and the related proposals for action;
  • welcomes the intention of the Commission to present a legislative proposal to improve the detection and removal of content that incites hatred and to commit terrorist acts.

MEPs: No military tasks for EU security compaines

Private companies are increasingly used by European countries and the EU to provide security and military services in missions abroad. However, military tasks and the protection of civilians are heavy responsibilities and if something goes wrong it can have fatal consequences. Parliament’s foreign affairs committee has drafted rules to increase the accountability of private security firms and prevent them from taking on military combat tasks. MEPs will vote on the report during the June plenary.

When 17 innocent civilians were killed on Nisour Square by the employees of private company Blackwater contracted by the US army in Baghdad on 16 September 2007, it caused outrage and raised questions on why security was being outsourced to the private sector. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident as private contractors have been involved in wounding and killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan on various occations. In addition, their employees are rarely convicted.

Private security firms provide services ranging from armed security guards, to maintenance and operation of weapon systems, combat support, running prisons and interrogations, intelligence and research.

Private companies have been accused of human rights violations and even causing casualties. They are also subject to less accountability and government control. Some are concerned that they might be above the law and unaccountable for human rights violations and abuses.

They are used in the EU and outside the EU to compensate for shrinking armed forces or to avoid limitations on the use of troops. According to 2013 figures, there were 40,000 private security companies in the EU employing more than 1.5 million people.

The own-initiative report by the foreign affairs and defence committees call for EU-wide rules on private security companies and say their use should be limited to logistical support and the protection of installations, while only EU-based firms should be used for protection tasks abroad.

UK to fortify Europe "unconditionally"

Britain’s contribution to European security is “historic,” and  “unconditional”, the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in an interview to ‘Le Figaro’ newspaper, denying the circulating information about the UK government hint on reduction of co-operation in case there will be no Brexit deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May wrote in a ‘Brexit’ letter to the European Union Council that “our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened” if Britain left the bloc without a new comprehensive deal. The sentence has been immediately interpreted as a move on a chessboard of the starting negociations.

Directly questioned in an interview for the French newspaper Le Figaro whether Britain was looking to exchange security co-operation against a trade deal, Johnson said: “No, on the contrary.”

“We regard the UK’s traditional and historic contribution to the security and stability of Europe as something that is unconditional.”

“We will continue to make this contribution because we believe it is good for the whole of Europe and indeed of the world. It’s in our interests as much as anybody else’s and we hope this will be one of the ways in which we can continue to work very closely (with the EU) in a deep and special partnership.”

Johnson said what Britain wanted was “a strong EU buttressed by a strong UK”.


Johnson told Le Figaro he thought the chances of Britain leaving the EU without an agreement were “very small”.

The Johnson’s position expressed to ‘Le Figaro’ echoed his statement at NATO meeting of the foreign ministers on Friday, 31.03.2017.





EU congratulates Farmajo


“We congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo on his election as President of the Federal Republic of Somalia”, – said in a joint statement the EU top diplomat  Federica Mogherini and Commissioners Neven Mimica and Christos Stylianides following the Presidential election in Somalia.

“The new President will face among others the rightful expectations of the Somali population of security, equality, access to justice and services, job opportunities and a dignified life free from corruption and uncertainty.

The leadership has an opportunity to demonstrate its capability and responsibility of securing this future for all Somalis in a federal Somalia.

We look forward to hearing the President’s plans for immediate action, notably on the formation of a government to deliver on unfulfilled commitments to ensure security, reconciliation of communal grievances, sound management of public finances and the completion of constitutional review.

These are the preconditions for peace and prosperity in Somalia and for the security of Somalia’s neighbours.

And with Somalia already affected by a dire humanitarian situation and threatened by famine, the leadership must act immediately. The European Union will stand by the people of Somalia”.

Georgians for Schengen visa-free



This week Georgian citizens would receive a formal MEPs approval for visa free, following an informal deal struck by Parliament and Council negotiators last December. The debate about the visa exemption for Georgians takes place in the European Parliament  on Thursday 2/2/2017, followed by a vote the same day. The visa waivers will apply only to the Schengen area.



During the negotiation process the impact on Europe’s security of visa-free for Georgians was largely played down for the sake of multiple political gains of the rapprochement with a former Soviet Republic. Subsequently the concerns of experts in a new geopolitical context with high activity of international terrorist groups have been not addressed during public debate. The talks took place behind closed doors as the majority of EU dealing in foreign affairs.

Although Georgia itself is regarded as a low-terroristic risk country it has been functioning as  the  “black transit hub”, a part of a corridor from Islamic State (IS) to Syria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan to Afghanistan. Experts believe that visa-free with Georgia will not be neglected by the agents from terroristic groups attempting to  infiltrate Europe.

The Islamic State (IS) is already waging an infowar against Georgia in social media to  end its  peacekeeping missions  in Afghanistan, regarded as strategic partner and powerful ally of the IS. The IS propaganda is targeting public opinion in Georgia as an engaged NATO partner  to obtain relieve for Taliban – the IS ally. Part of the population in Pankisi  valley sympathizes with the Wahhabis, 60-70 people from the valley are fighting in Syria.

So far the Georgians were the largest non-NATO contributor to international forces in Afghanistan with all together 11 000 military  participating though years in combat operation in Helmand province, patrolling in Kabul, Baram Air field and the other strategic points.

The possible influx of migrants from Caucasus region –  the issue raised by Eurosceptics – has been also  disregarded while promoting the proposal for visa-free.

The Georgian newspaper “Rezonansi” reports that beyond peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan,  Georgia carries out a humanitarian mission sheltering refugees from conflict zones. The procedures for the attribution of refugee status have been simplified, and at present the country is hosting  more than four thousand refugees from Syria and Iraq.