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Breedlove Says European Security Situation ‘Serious,’ ‘Complicated’

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By Lisa Ferdinando

As the United States and its European partners work together to deter Russia, the commander of U.S. forces in Europe told a Senate panel on Monday they’re also “preparing for conflict if necessary.”

“Demonstrated preparedness to defeat [an adversary] is an essential part of our deterrent message,” said Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command.

He spoke before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Breedlove outlined the threats to European and U.S. security interests, including those from Russia, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and instability on Europe’s southern flank.

The security situation in Europe has only grown “more serious and more complicated” over the past months, he told lawmakers.

Resurgent, Aggressive Russia

Europe is facing a “resurgent, aggressive Russia” that is seeking to reestablish a leading role on the world stage, the general said.

“Russia has chosen to be an adversary and poses a long-term existential threat to the United States and to our European allies and partners,” he said.

Russia is using diplomatic, economic and informational tools and military pressure to shape and influence nations while trying to remain below triggering a military response, Breedlove said.

“Russia recognizes strength and sees weakness as opportunity,” he explained. “To that end, Russia applies all instruments of national power, including its military, to coerce, corrupt and undermine targeted European countries.”

Russia, Syria ‘Weaponizing’ Migration

Russian involvement in the fight in Syria has only complicated the situation and bolstered the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its allies, the general said.

Noting he is a fighter pilot himself, Breedlove said he cannot see any reason why Assad would use barrel bombs against his own people, and why Russia would use non-precision weapons.

“Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve,” he said.

“I can’t find any other reason for [barrel bombs] other than to cause refugees to be on the move and make them someone else’s problem,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove said there is no “understandable method” to use a barrel bomb that reaches military utility, the general said.

Mass Migration, Threat of Terrorism

Europe faces the daunting challenge of mass migration spurred by state instability and state collapse, the general said. The influx of people is masking the movements of criminals, terrorists and foreign fighters, he said.

“Within this mix, ISIL … is spreading like a cancer, taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own with terrorist attacks,” Breedlove said. “Its brutality is driving millions to flee from Syria and Iraq, creating an almost unprecedented humanitarian challenge.”

DoD News

DoD News publishes news from the US Defense Department.

One thought on “Breedlove Says European Security Situation ‘Serious,’ ‘Complicated’

  • March 3, 2016 at 10:40 am
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    Breedlove making a mess – what is complicated for Breedlove is that Russia consistently refuses to take the endlessly repeated US bait and start a war that could be called a war on NATO. It is obvious that Russia will not attack NATO: NATO spends some 8 times more on defense than Russia does. As Putin said: only a crazy person in a drug dream could think that Russia would attack NATO. As to the weaponization of migrants: the US did that. The migrant crisis existed long before Russia moved in support of Syria. ISIS is a product of the CIA, not Syria, not Russia – only the USA, whether Breedlove dares to admit this or not. BTW, only about a third of the refugees to the EU are Syrian, the others are Iraqi, Afghan, Libyan and Erithrean. So is the US weaponizing the migrant problem in Iraq? Russia doesn’t bomb in Iraq, the US does. The US also bombs in Syria and has in fact caused many migrants by destroying civilian infrastructure – like a grain silo in eastern Syria, which would have fed the people otherwise; the only electricity plant for a section of Aleppo under ISIS/rebel control. The work supplied both the civilians and ISIS. Without water, electricity and sewerage, what other choice do people have but to leave? As always, the US, via Breedlove, trying its best to accuse Russia of the US’s own actions. We’ve seen that before.

    As to barrel weapons and general purpose missiles rather than all precision missiles: Syria can produce the barrel bombs inside Syria. Given the many embargoes and the reduced economy, barrel bombs are a cost-effective weapon that can be used to kill and drive away ISIS. The Syrian barrel bombs showed themselves to be quite effective. Russia uses precision bombs when targets are near civilian areas and uses general purpose bombs when targets are far enough away from civilians to make the less expensive bombs suffice. This is just common sense. The US likely does the same.

    As to Breedlove’s assertion that Russia is a threat to the US and the EU – that is pretty ridiculous. Russia won’t subjugate under the US dictate – that is not a threat to US interests – there are no legal such interests by any nation. Nor does Russia try to split the EU – a unified EU is in fact in Russian interest. The US is trying to split the EU and possibly even to start a civil war between religions. It would guarantee permanent EU submission to the US hegemony.

    Breedlove is, as usual, tossing out American falsehoods to hide the utter and complete US policy failure in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. That has nothing to do with Russian air strikes – the US mostly objects because Russia was very effective in combating ISIS whereas the US doesn’t want to eliminate ISIS in order to use it to partition Iraq and balkanize the Middle East. Russia prevents that.

    Brewedlove: go home. Nobody needs your false information.

    Reply

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