The EU Commission created under Article 42, the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the development of which, has been seen as a contentious issue as far as NATO is concerned.
NATO already consists of 22 EU member states together with four non members states, Iceland, Norway, Turkey and Albania but many well known commentators and academics believe NATO to be nothing more than an American interventionist force, as Prof. Noam Chomsky explains;
“The official justification for NATO was that its purpose was to defend Western Europe from Russian hordes who might attack Western Europe. Can’t ask how plausible that explanation was, but that at least that was the official explanation. Well, no Russian hordes. Natural conclusion – ok, let’s disband NATO. The opposite happens – NATO expanded. Its mission changed. The official mission of NATO became to control the international global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world. Of course, its a U.S.-run intervention force.”
The idea that the EU should become free of American influence over NATO came with the formation of the EU Battlegroup that is part of the CSDP. Specific EU Battlegroups began at the European Council summit on 10–11 December 1999 in Helsinki. The Council produced the Headline Goal 2003 and specified the need for a rapid response capability that members should provide in small forces at high readiness. That 2003 goal had to be shifted to 2010.
It called specifically for “Battlegroup sized forces of around 1500 land forces, personnel, offered by a single nation or through a multinational nation force package. The groups are intended to be deployed on the ground within 5–10 days of approval from the Council and it must be sustainable for at least 30 days, which could be extended to 120 days.
From the Lisbon Treaty –
“The common security and defence policy shall be an integral part of the common foreign and security policy. It shall provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets. The Union may use them on missions outside the Union for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. The performance of these tasks shall be undertaken using capabilities provided by the Member States.”
Paris, November 13th. A series of coordinated terrorist attacks—consisting of mass shootings, suicide bombings, and hostage-taking—occurs in the capital of France, and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis. ISIS is blamed, ISIS claims a victory.
The unelected bureaucrats of the European Union have their chance. An enormous campaign is lifted off the ground. Landmarks across the world were illuminated in blue, white, and red to honor the victims. Facebook’s decision to implement its “safety check” feature for the attacks in Paris garnered 360 million responses in 24 hours and seems somehow suspicious given it did nothing for any other terrorist attack, even the one the claimed by ISIS the day before in Beirut.
After a mass media scrum to produce round-the-clock endless stories of personal tragedies, citizens of the world are quite rightly outraged at this barbaric act perpetrated by ISIS. The public outpouring of grief seemingly matches the atrocity of 9/11 – an event that changed the world.
Hollande, France’s most unpopular leader in French history, takes decisive action. The first sentence of Hollande’s speech to an exceptional meeting of both parliament houses was “France is at war” on Monday, reminiscent of George Bush’s “you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists”. “Terrorism will not destroy the republic; it is the republic that will destroy terrorism,” was how he ended that speech.
What Hollande did was to deliver a speech aimed at creating unity around a “security pact” and thereby triggering an international response following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, which has now happened.
The French president could have invoked Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It states quite specifically the following;
The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. The Union shall mobilise all the instruments at its disposal, including the military resources made available by the Member States, to:
– prevent the terrorist threat in the territory of the Member States;
– protect democratic institutions and the civilian population from any terrorist attack;
– assist a Member State in its territory, at the request of its political authorities, in the event of a terrorist attack;
– which requires assistance when a member state is “the object of a terrorist attack”,
Hollande chose to trigger Article 42 of the Treaty on European Union. Both article 222 and 42 can only be adopted by consensus at the European Commission.
Hollande, desperate to gain popularity and the EU desperate to create unity amongst its ever more disaffected club is using the Paris event to gain political capital.
Hollande has repeated the claim that France was attacked by an “army of terrorists” operating from abroad. The attacks were “planned in Syria”, he told MPs and senators. “The enemy is Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State group. “We shall not just contain it (referring to Obama’s unfortunate and totally mistimed speech the day before), but destroy it,” he said, adding that France will “intensify its operations” in Syria following Monday’s raids.
Hollande goes one step further. The articles of the constitution organizing the state of emergency and “full powers” for the president are “no longer suited to the current situation”, he said, and stated that authorities now be allowed “adequate means to take exceptional measures”, without having to have recourse to the state of emergency.
He immediately announced the creation of 8,500 jobs in police, justice and border administration. This, in addition to a freeze on staff reductions in the army, and said that reservists would be called to form “a home guard”. Amid France’s worsening economic woes, Hollande takes the opportunity to say “the security pact prevails over the stability pact,” in what was a soundbite aimed at the EU Commission, which supervises EU member states’ budgets. His own budget short on economic performance.
EU officials use the opportunity to close their borders to the refugee crisis and calm their own citizens. David Cameron, also desperate to support the US after an embarrassing defeat in the commons vote against action in Syria will use the opportunity promptly.
France is now in a state of emergency that will last for an initial 30 days. This can be extended out to 120 days. Hollande is now in sole control of France. Article 42 can remain in place for a period of 120 days.
Amendments to the constitution includes stripping the citizenship of convicted terrorists, increased surveillance, and “more sophisticated methods” to curb weapons trafficking, expulsion of foreigners considered a threat to public order, strip binational citizens who carry out acts hostile to national security of French citizenship, and bar binationals considered a terrorism risk from entering French territory.
“We must change our constitution to act against terrorism,” he said.
Amid calls from the Pentagon for a global coalition in Syria, France launches fresh and sustained bombing attacks against ISIS strongholds. The largest battleship in Europe, the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier can carry out 100 bombing missions every day is on its way to the theatre of war.
Hollande chose the EU over NATO for direct response. Will the EU, under Article 42 consider whether its untested Battlegroup, can gain some experience and influence in Syria just at the time support is growing for more direct action?
The seven terrorist in Paris, posing as refugees from war-torn Syria are identified as the ISIS trained killers. A Syrian passport is found next to a suicide bomber. Another terrorist identified by a fingerprint on what was left of a blown up body.
Then we find out that the passport is fake and that “at least” five of the terrorists are in fact disaffected Frenchmen. It won’t be long before we find all the terrorists were home grown and there were more than seven, and none of them were sent by ISIS.
If they were radicalised, which takes a considerable amount of time to achieve, it was hardly an attack by ISIS. That being the case, bombing Syria is not going to achieve anything other than creating more refugees and dead civilians. France is suffering more terror attacks than any other western nation because of the terrorism it perpetrated decades ago against the very people, who caused the barbarity in Paris – Algerians. But now they are French born, third generation angry Algerians.
There are no Syrian/Iraqi trained ISIS killers on the loose in France. At best that leaves two possibles from hundreds of thousands of refugees on the run from bombed out Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan – a percentage of nil.
Invoking Article 42 was not required as France is not being attacked by a foreign force and is confirmation of an EU power-grab.
On Hollande’s watch, the surveillance and security services dramatically failed to protect French citizens. Already deeply unpopular, he opportunistically engineers a social and political response for personal gain.
Hollande (popularity domestically and in EU), the EU (expansion of EU unity amid own crisis, closing borders to refugees -another crisis, austerity – a bigger crisis), the US (desperate for active Allies in its failed foreign policies in the Mid-East), David Cameron (threat of Brexit, dwindling influence with US), US/EU relations (cover for unpopular TTIP and expanded national and international surveillance agenda), Angela Merkel (Fading popularity at home and within EU). Facebook (massive disingenuous ad campaign). Mass media (click baiting). Overall – support for failed western politics (foreign policy, dismantling social democracy across Europe, austerity, banking, war, etc).
The losers: Normal people, terrorised by governments all over the world.