What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

From Curaçao to Uruzgan...? Not a good move

MStFB Update
Just a short update on yesterday's post on how the Dutch-led Task Force Uruzgan mission is faring in Afghanistan, to which I have also received an anonymous comment. There's not much I would disagree with in the latter's remarks, but I'd just like to point out that I myself have also pointed to some of the things mentioned there, in my earlier posts on the subject.
I myself have written of Dutch forces' switch to the amoeba strategy, and in fact I had even predicted its coming to a degree. The only problem with that switch is that I'm a bit puzzled over how much it has actually happened. One doesn't see many signs of it from over here, and, as far as rhetorics are concerned, we're still getting the usual bragging about the ink blot strategy and its being better than the strategy the other NATO countries have, again and again. For a change, the article I cited yesterday is now saying that in a sense the Dutch strategy actually isn't working, but in the process it reaffirms that Dutch troops are still looking to maintain a non-combative approach. So I did learn of the amoeba concept before, but I'm not sure if it wasn't merely just an idea tossed around a little bit with scarcely an attempt to follow through, with all the confusing signals that keep coming.
I'm also aware of Dutch F-16s flying CAS (close air support) and other missions elsewhere, playing an important part in operations in other southern Afghan provinces. Talking about that, Dutch special forces, operating not just in Uruzgan, could also be mentioned to provide a more comprehensive picture of the Netherlands' presence in Afghanistan, which I have already attempted to draw in my previous posts, e.g. here.
Getting back to my post from yesterday, there I talked about a series of leaks presenting us with a picture of Dutch operations in Uruzgan being unsustainable. Well, here is a new leak. It's not a brand new thing, a couple of days old stuff in fact, but yesterday it avoided my attention, so I'll add it effectively to the post yesterday, as an update.
Quoting an NRC Handelsblad report, Radio Netherlands' press review from June 6 says the extra costs of operations in Uruzgan and the faster-than-expected wearing down of equipment and stocks (e.g. ammunition) there will mean the following necessary adjustments for the Dutch military, described by a defence ministry spokesperson as nothing short of a 'disaster'.
1) Tank and artillery units will have to be reduced by around one-third.
2) A squadron of F-16s is set to go down the drain.
3) A company of Royal Marines will have to be withdrawn from Curaçao.
4) Some brand new, or recently upgraded equipment will have to be sold off, including 28 recently modernised Leopard tanks.
That is according to a defence ministry internal memorandum that ran into some publicity while being circulated around... Still nothing entirely sure but all in there is not improbable at all, either. Unless more money is made available for defence spending, but that's not very likely to happen, is it?
OK, to finish off, here's the Wikipedia article on Curaçao. Nice site for my readers to finish reading, too nice a place to say farewell to by those Royal Marines.
P.S. Perhaps we could build some Pashtun-style guesthouses on Curaçao, like the Dutch-built ones I mentioned in the previous post from near Tarin Khowt, for Uruzgan insurgents, where they could chat and have tea with Task Force Curaçao soldiers. I think even Hungary would be ready to contribute some troops to such a mission. Oops, no, reconsidered. I don't think Talib fighters would appreciate all those almost-naked girls on the beach there. And it would be just too convenient for the ill-willing press to label the venture the Dutch Guantanamo, and that would spoil everything.

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