European Union agrees to establish joint intelligence training school

PESCO EUTwenty-five members of the European Union have agreed to establish a joint intelligence training academy, a move interpreted by some as a concrete effort to deepen inter-European security cooperation following Brexit. The announcement came just hours after leading EU heads of state spoke in favor of establishing a joint EU defense force. Calls for tighter cooperation between EU members in the areas of defense and security have been issued for decades. But the upcoming departure of Britain from the EU —popularly known as Brexit— has prompted Germany and France to propose deeper integration as a response to the rise of anti-EU sentiment across the continent.

The decision to establish a joint intelligence training school was approved on Monday by the ministers of defense and foreign affairs of 25 EU members. It was part of a wider agreement involving 16 other joint defense and security projects under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact. The pact was first agreed on in September of 2017, and has since been functioning under the supervision of the European Defense Agency and the External Action Service —the diplomatic service of the EU. Nearly 20 projects of a military or security nature have since been signed under PESCO. Monday’s agreement virtually doubled the PESCO projects in existence. The new EU intelligence academy initiative will be led by Greece —an EU member since 1981— and will be headquartered in Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004. When it becomes operational, the academy will provide “education and training in intelligence disciplines and other specific fields to EU member states’ intelligence personnel”, according to a joint PESCO communique issued on Monday.

The new intelligence school will work in cooperation with the individual intelligence agencies of the 25 co-signatory states, along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and with other regional security bodies, said PESCO. However, three EU states, namely Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom, refused to support the project. Denmark and Malta are not participants in PESCO, while the United Kingdom is expected to leave the EU in March of next year. However, even before Brexit, London had vetoed the idea of closer EU intelligence cooperation, which it saw as a potential competitor to the so-called Five Eyes alliance, a postwar intelligence pact between the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Additionally, despite the overwhelming support for the intelligence academy by EU officials, it remains to be seen whether it will be realized. Observers told Politico on Monday that many other PESCO projects have “yet to get much beyond the drawing board” since their announcement last year.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 20 November 2018 | Research credit: K.A. | Permalink

 

Advertisements

Pakistan will retaliate if Israel attacks Iran, says diplomat

Hossein SalamiBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A European diplomat has quoted Pakistani officials as saying that Islamabad will retaliate in kind if the Israeli military attacks Iran. Speaking to the Associated Press, the anonymous diplomat, who is stationed in Pakistan, said Pakistani military leaders have decided that “if Iran is attacked [they] will have no alternative but to launch a reprisal attack”. The warning, which the Associated Press appears to be treating as reliable, implies the involvement of Pakistan —the world’s only predominantly Muslim nuclear power— in a possible war between Iran and Israel. The latter is also widely considered to possess a formidable nuclear weapons arsenal. Other reports quote several international experts who seem to agree that it will be impossible to contain the ramifications of a possible military confrontation between Iran and Israel to a strictly regional level. Nick Witney, former Director of the European Defense Agency, who is currently Senior Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, argues that an Iranian-Israeli war will have immediate effects on the global economy. According to Witney, “the political and economic consequences of an Israeli attack would be catastrophic for Europe”, as the immediate spike in oil prices will cause out-of-control defaults in countries like Italy and Greece. This will eventually push the entire European Union, including economic powerhouse Germany, into a deep and prolonged recession, and may even cause the euro to collapse altogether. Moreover, says Witney, Iran will “probably retaliate against European interests in the region, and conceivably more directly with terrorism aimed at Western countries and societies”. Read more of this post