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Home arrow newsitems arrow EuroCorps' New Chief to EF: European Army Report on Afghanistan possible +Space/Missions/Enlargement

EuroCorps' New Chief to EF: European Army Report on Afghanistan possible +Space/Missions/Enlargement

Parašė ACM
Thursday, September 02, 2021

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*Strasbourg/Pourtales Castle/Angelo Marcopolo/- "EuroCorps" New Chief (2021-2023), Lieutenant-General Peter Devogelaere, from Belgium, Replying to 2 "Eurofora"s Questions at the Press Conference concluding a Top-Level Ceremony for "Change of Command", at the superb Castle of Pourtales in Strasbourg's outskirts near Robertsau's Forest, announced, in substance, that the Multi-National Army Headquarters and Brigade corps was Ready to Contribute, if it was asked to do so, from  a European point of view, to the Current Reflexions (including by NATO) about what should have been done in order to prevent the recent Afghanistan Failure of a Controversial Global move, after 20 Years of USA-led Military Intervention, (notoriously Resulting in Taliban's power take-over, a Deadly ISIS Bombing killing more than 100 People at Kaboul' Airport, including 13 American Soldiers, added Even to the recuperation of a Lot of US Weapons, from Helicopters up to Dangerous anti-Aerian "ManPads", many Thousands of Asylum Seekers, etc, and a Country pushed at the limits of Economic and Humanitarian Catastrophe, as even UNO Warns)...

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    - "At a Time When the Global Order is frequently being Called into Question, and when Competition in International relations is becoming Increasingly Tough, sometimes giving way to Contestation and even Confrontation, the Presence, on This Morning (2/9/2021), of the Highest Military Authorities of (EuroCorp's 5) Framework Nations, and (6) Associated Nations, Demonstrates Europe's shared Ambition to Commit to its Collective Defense, and to Play a Full Part in International Security", stressed from the outset, in his Official Speech, the Head of Ceremony, French Army's Chief, General Thierry Burkhard. Calling EuroCorps "the European apid Reaction Force", as well as "a MultiNational Unit, Backed by European Nations", he stoped short, however, from Revealing Today what relevant Plans might have, in this matter, the Forthcoming 2022 French Presidency of the EU, (Just After the Dust Settles at the Current 2021 German Elections)...

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    - "Concerning Afghanistan, as NATO just announced that it currently prepares a Study on what really happened and what should have been done, wouldn't it be a good idea Also for EuroCorps to use its valuable Experience on the spot, in order to prepare a Report from a European point of View ?", "Eurofora" asked the New Commander, General Vogelaere, during the ensuing Press Conference.    

    (Indeed, "EuroCorps" has been Twice Involved in Afghanistan, on 2004-2005 and 2012-2013, including as the Head of the International Force's Chief of Staff, and Devogelaere personaly participated there several times. On this occasion, a French former Commander had already spotted f.ex. the particular issue of Women and Young Girls' Human Rights under a Taliban regime, as being of a potential key importance for the Future. [Comp. many Replies by EuroCorps' Heads a.o. to "Eurofora"'s Questions on Afghanistan, f.ex. at http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsinafganistan.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/lisbonrightsdefence.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchdefenceministerlonguetoneupolicy.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/sarkomerkeldealswithobama2009.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/natobama.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsafghaistanlibya.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsroleafterafghanistan.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpscommandersoneuautonomytools.html, etc]. Meanwhile, current President Biden's clumsy management of Afghanistan issue, with Talibans taking over very Rapidly, ISIS Killing more tha 100 People, including 13 American POWS, etc; made him Fall Down to 44% against 51% for former POTUS Trump at the Polls, shortly before Crucial forthcoming Mid-Term Elections, later this Autumn 2021).

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    - "This Army Headquarters, that we dispose, is there for European Union's benefit", stressed , as a matter of General Principle, EuroCorps' New Chief, from the outset of his Reply to the above-mentiond "Eurofora"s Question). "Sometimes, there are elements of Studies, or of support, on certain aspects".

    => "And we ("EuroCorps") are Ready to Work Together, and give our Appreciations and thoughts on certain key points. So, that's Possible, i.e. to Give our Opinion, as an Army Headquarters", he Positively ensured, on the occasion of Afghanistan).

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    +"EuroFora" went on to point out that, "Recently, your collegues in the USA created a Space Force, which became very Popular. Concerning Europe, could f.ex. EuroCorps, at least, include the use of Space Technologies in your Training ?", we Asked.

    (Indeed, US Polls revealed that Space Force, created by former POTUS Donald Trump, was one among the Most Favored Issues by the American People on 2020)...

    -"It's not our vocation", at least until now. "We are mainly a Land-setting Army Headquaters, and we are not yet involved in such kind of developments". So,  "for the time being, in Europe, it's, particularly, at the level of several Member States that the First concrete Initiatives in that direction already exist". he modestly but prospectively highlighted.         

    + "But, don't you use, at least, Galileo (Space Geo-Localisation) and several other Space Technologies already in your current work ?", "Eurofora" wondered.       

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    - Indeed, "we are dealing, f.ex., with AirBorn Integration, which is absolutely normal, (in addition to Sea Naval operations), etc. But Not Yet on the Space area as such", EuroCorps New Leader, carefuly added, (apparently open to eventual developments in the foreseable Future)...

    ("EuroCorps"' wider Mission to Become, sooner or later, a "Pluri-Modal" Force, able to use Land, Air, Sea, and -why not ? also Space- Links and relevant Technologies, had been Strongly Underlined during an Earlier Top-Level Event in Strasbourg, including Defense Ministers. [See, f.ex. at ..., etc]. And Recently, "EuroCorps" was Trained on the "Renewal" of its "Command, Control and Information System", as General Burkhard observed Today. But, according to what had Told us anOther Experienced former Army General, working as EADS' Top Expert, the Most Important "3C" Lacuna in Europe's necessary Capabilities that would allow it to have a full "Autonomous" Defense, was the Lack of an "Early Warning System", based on Earth Observation from Space, able to give Timely and Clear Alerts Warning about Risks of Attacks from Nearby Geo-Localized Hostile Forces, [f.ex. by Analysing Photos revealing the Chemical Reactions of Rockets Launching, etc]).  

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    However, in parallel, anOther, Earth to Earth, Important Developement, recently, seems to be "EuroCorps" New Trend towards an Enhanced Attractivity :

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    Indeed, Both the currently Outgoing and Incoming "EuroCorps"' Chiefs, Lieutenant Generals Colodjiej (France) and Devogelaere (Belgium) had a Valuable Experience in  working together with Other European Countries : (Colodjiej at London, UK, assuming later also the role of International Relations' Head in the French Army, while Devogelaere studied and worked extensively in Germany, including at the prestigious "Führungs-Akademie", etc), while they also served in "HotSpots" as Lebanon, Mali, and Others accross the World.

    => This coincides, Nowadays, with the expected Enlargement of "EuroCorps"' fully_fledged core "Framework Nations", (France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg), also to Poland, that Gneral Devogelaere Expects to be Realized "towards the Beginning of Next Year : 2022", since "Both the Polish themselves and all Other Nations very much Wish to do so", as he stressed at Today's Press Conference).

    But it's also Austria, which has Just recently Joined the Group of "EuroCorps"' simply "Associated Nations", (currently : Italy, Romania, Greece, Poland and Turkey), represented by a "Liaison Officer" in Strasbourg, as the Organisations' Head Press Officer, Marie-Luise Skura, reminded "Eurofora" Today.

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    All this, Obviously, "Strengthens <<EuroCorps'>> European and International Basis", as the Chief of the "Change of Command" Ceremony, French Army's Head, General Burkhard, stressed Today : An almost Necessary move of GeoPolitical Adjustmment, since a Realy "European" Force could Not leave Out an EU's  Central Core Nation as Ausstria, while Keeping Turkey, which naturaly concerns "EuroCorps" 2nd role, Also as an efficient NATO tool in certain cirumstances : Indeed, after having recently been Certified and Served as a NATO's Rapid Reaction Force on 2020 (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsandnatoonlibya.html, etc), "EuroCorps" is Also due to Become, on 2024, even a "NATO's Joint Task Force HQ", as General Burkhard observed, (a move that Devogelaere said to have been "Well Prepared" by his Predecessors).

    Before that, "EuroCorps" will finalize its current "European Training Missions" in Mali and Central Africa, with the participation of General Devogelaere himself on the spot, as he announced at Today's Press Conference.

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    +Meanwhile, the departing former EuroCorps' Chief, General Laurent Colodjiej (2019-2021), speaking at the same Press Conference, observed that he was Glad to have Led such a "Unique" Army HeadQuarters as "EuroCorps", particularly Based in Strasbourg, at the Heart of Europe, with a Franco-German Culture and inspiring "European Citizenship".

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    General Colodjiej, who was promoted Today as "Commander of the Legion of Hounour", by decision of French President Macron, in a moving Ceremony here, on the occasion of his Retirement from the Army in general, had, apparently, eyed quite well a quite astonishing phenomenon : Indeed, Both a Young French Lady, Graduate of Strasbourg University, and a Sportif Middle-Age German former School-Teacher, who Kindly Helped "Eurofora", as "EuroCorps"' Press Officers, in various practical ways, during and after the Official Ceremony, were, in fact, "Reservists", as they told us : I.e. EU Citizens accepting to Offer their Various Acquired Capabilities to the service of European Defense... Our German interlocutor even told us that he could do so up to 10 Months per Year, and had followed "EuroCorps" during a so Long Period of Time as ..."since 1993", i.e., by a Striking Coincidence, as Long as "Eurofora"'s co-Founder himself !...

    A Previous Top-Level Conference in Strasbourg had, already, throroughly Analyzed and Theorized the Recent Development of such a Strategy,, resolutely Aiming to regularly Attract various Qualified, Experienced, and Motivated People, to such a Voluntary Service to National and/or European Defense. => European Citizens, are they a precious "New Weapon", due to considerably Strengthen the Defense of Europe in the foreseable Future ?

 

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(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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