November 19, 2015

France triggers EU treaty and not NATO to start building a broader military coalition

France will hold direct talks with fellow members of the European Union in a first-ever request for help in defense and security under the EU treaty, as the French counterattack against the Islamic State group will stretch its resources, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.

There is no list of requests, but French forces were already stretched by deployments in the Sahel sub-Saharan region and the Middle East before taking a heightened role in domestic security in response to the IS-ordered attacks last Friday, which killed 129 people in restaurants and a crowded concert hall in the capital. France is at war, President François Hollande has said.

There will be a “bilateral” approach with EU fellow members, Defence Ministry spokesman Pierre Bayle told journalists Thursday. France has invoked article 42.7 of the EU treaty, which calls for “aid and assistance” when a member state has been attacked in its own territory.

France did not invoke article 5 requiring NATO aid. NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an international alliance that consists of 28 member states from North America and Europe. Of the 28 member countries, two are located in North America (Canada and the United States) and 25 are European countries while Turkey is in Eurasia.

US President Obama has repeated his vow not to send ground troops to fight ISIS.

Canada has promised robust support to France. However, this might only mean not stopping air strikes and adding a few more trainers to the 69 trainers already deployed

By triggering the EU, France gets all of the European aid that they might expect while not putting futile pressure on the USA and Canada. President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau were not going to make a serious commitment even if NATO was invoked.

Paris will also seek to win an EU agreement to exempt its defense spending from its budget deficit, as the adoption of new defense measures in response to the IS-declared threat will fuel the national debt.

One of the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers, HMS Defender, will provide air cover for the French naval task force 473, dubbed Arromanche 2, led by the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the British Ministry of Defence confirmed Thursday.

Belgium also has pledged a frigate to sail with the task force.

Ireland has offered to boost its troop numbers in a UN-led peacekeeping force in Mali to allow France to redeploy soldiers needed elsewhere, Bayle said.

Too many troops needed for a constant Syria-wide policing operation

Steven Goode of the Strategic Studies Institute has a historical study of the number of troops needed for counter insurgency operations.

This data was used to determine the following force threshold equation:
F = 1.2 x (K/L)0.45 + 2.8
F = security forces required per 1,000 population to reduce violence
K = number of security forces killed annually, per million population
L = fraction of security forces local to the conflict area

In words, this formula reveals that the minimum counterinsurgent force is 2.8 soldiers per 1,000 residents, with more forces required as the violence level increases. Additionally, the larger the proportion of security forces drawn from the local population, the fewer personnel will be needed to deal with the violence.

More Commando raids mixed in with more air strikes

The US had a recent commando raids in Iraq. A mission involving American helicopters and troops in support of Kurdish special operations forces who led the raid, Cook said. They freed approximately 70 hostages, most of whom were Kurds, though the group also included more than 20 Iraqi security forces members who were being held at a prison run by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.

In May 2015 there was a ground raid deep in Syrian territory where U.S. special operations forces killed a top ISIS leader who they were attempting to capture and interrogate about American hostages and how the terror group finances its war machine.

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