Balkans: February 21, 2004


: NATO has officially offered to provide additional security assistance to Greece for the upcoming Olympics. This is a historic offer of sorts: NATO is offering alliance troops to help protect a sports event. Of course the Olympics isnt a normal sports tournament. It is precisely the kind of global icon target terrorists seek. The media magnification of an attack on the Olympics would be instant. Greece has not made a formal request to NATO, but every nation in the alliance knows that Athens and the rest of Greece become a prime target this summer. Recall NATO invoked the mutual defense clause of the NATO charter after the US was attacked on 9/11. What could NATO provide? (1) More troops. Military police are key but also special operations troops (Delta, SAS and GSG-9) experienced in hostage rescue.(2) Increased sea control and surveillance capabilities, particularly if US Navy and Royal Navy ships are added to the mix. This isnt simply surface surveillance. Add US or British nuclear subs for underwater surveillance, and even more exotic sensors. (3) Improved air surveillance and control. AWACS aircraft fly under the Luxembourg flag, but they are regarded as an all alliance asset. AWACS would be tasked to provide pinpoint air control around the entire region. (4) Emergency medical assets. The potential exists for mass casualties, particularly if the terrorists set off a chemical or radiological weapon. Military casualty evacuation and mass medical assistance capabilities would be extremely useful if the worst case occurs. (Austin Bay)




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