Another deployment

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Bravo_Bravo, Mar 19, 2004.

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  1. Stop whinging. There are OBVIOUSLY enough of us, or the RGBW would not be on the way...From The Times Online...

    BRITAIN is rushing 750 troops into Kosovo to try to quell the worst outbreak of ethnic violence in the province since the war ended in 1999.
    The Cabinet responded to a Nato appeal for extra troops yesterday amid fears that the violence could spiral out of control and destabilise the Balkans.

    The West’s nightmare would be renewed conflict between Christians and Muslims at a time when sentiment in the Islamic world has already been inflamed by US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Two days of ethnic clashes have left more than 30 people dead and 500 injured. One Nato peacekeeper has lost his life and 35 have been injured.

    Albanians attacked Serb homes and churches across Kosovo yesterday. There were reports last night that the main Orthodox church in Pristina, the capital, was on fire, and that Albanians were attacking the Serb quarter of the town of Lipljan.

    The violence has spread to Serbia, where nationalists burnt down Belgrade’s only mosque after setting fire to a mosque in the city of Nis. Riot police used teargas and stun grenades to control the crowds.

    The violence erupted on Wednesday after three Alban- ian boys drowned in a river in the city of Mitrovica, having allegedly been chased by Serbs.United Nations staff were evacuated from the city last night.

    Kosovo has been under UN administration since July 1999, when Nato used force to eject Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian troops who were driving the Albanian population out of the province.

    The Serbian military has been placed on high alert and Vojislav Kostunica, the Prime Minister, accused Kosovo’s Albanian majority of mounting an “attempted pogrom and ethnic cleansing” against the province’s Serb minority. Serbian newspapers ran headlines declaring, “Albanian terrorism” and “Serbian homes and churches on fire”.

    General James Jones, Nato’s senior military commander in Europe, demanded that leaders of both sides “take decisive action to control immediately their citizens and return to the rule of law”.

    General Holger Kammerhoff, the German commander of Nato’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo, authorised the use of force to quell the violence and protect civilians.

    Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, demanded an “immediate halt to the violence which jeopardises the stability of Kosovo”. The EU also appealed for calm while Russia, a traditional ally of the Serbs, rounded on the Alban- ians, saying that their aggression “could lead to an explosive situation in the province and the region as a whole”.

    The UN Security Council, meeting last night to discuss the crisis, heard a plea from Serbia’s Foreign Minister, Goran Slivanovic, to halt “ethnic cleansing”. While stopping short of passing a new resolution, it agreed to adopt a statement urging “all communities” to stop the violence after Russia dropped its insistence that the Kosovo Albanians be singled out for blame.

    Mr Slivanovic said armed groups were crossing into the province because the borders with Albania and Macedonia had been left unguarded, and called on the Security Council to take “concrete and urgent action” to end the violence.

    He said: “The Serbian population suffered a purge the purpose of which was its ethnic cleansing from Kosovo.”

    The British Government agreed to send troops after Nato appealed for re- inforcements to bolster its 18,000-strong force in Kosovo. Within hours members of the 1st Battalion the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, based in Hounslow, were on their way, with the rest due to leave in the next four days.

    They will join 350 US and Italian troops redeployed yesterday from Bosnia. But the biggest burden has fallen on Britain under a rota system agreed with the United States, Italy and Germany.

    The Ministry of Defence said the length of the troops’ stay would depend on what happened, but if the situation deteriorated Nato might have to seek more reinforcements.

    The deployment will add to pressure on the Army, which already has operational commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and with other UN missions, such as in Sierra Leone.

    Britain already has 280 troops in Kosovo, along with 1,130 in Bosnia and Croatia, 8,800 in Iraq, 1,385 in Kuwait and the Gulf, 350 in Afghanistan, 1,240 in the Falklands, 420 in Gibraltar, 100 in Sierra Leone and 450 with other UN missions. There are also 13,500 troops in Northern Ireland.

    Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said: “We are monitoring events in Kosovo with growing concern. We have known all along that it was going to take some time (to rebuild peace).”

    Nicholas Soames, the Shadow Defence Secretary, backed the decision to send extra troops and said that the question of overstretch did not arise as the troops being sent were the spearhead battalion on stand-by for such purposes.

    Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesman, said: “If Nato requires reinforcements, Britain should provide them.”
  2. Agreed, overstretch doesnt come into it until the spearhead is required elsewhere (afghan elections looming?) or they require to be roulemonted. Nicholas Soames needs to realise that the Army cant pull Batallions out of its Arrse forever. Does anyone know the deployment history of the RGBW? It could be possible that they are recently returned from Ops or are in the Orbat for a future deployment?
  3. RGBW are meant to arrive in Germany in December....mmmhhh....seems like that may get slightly postponed.
  4. The city of Herat seems to be quickly going to pieces with the assassination of a government minister and factional infighting between forces loyal to the governor and forces loyal to a local commander.

    Will the Grand old Duke of York be marching some (more) soldiers half-way up that particular hill?
  5. Bugger this Kosovo stretch, we should be tooling up to sort that tube Mugabe and his thugs out! - that's a deployment worth signing on for.