Austrian army’s Chief-of-Staff: “Containing refugee crisis is militarily possible; political will is lacking”
— Kronen Zeitung (@krone_at) June 20, 2017
In an interview on 20 June, Chief-of-Staff of the Austrian Army, Othmar Commenda was asked if it is possible to close off the Mediterranean sea. It is a question that the article claims the whole of Austria is asking. His answer was both clear and businesslike:
“From a military point of view, the refugee routes across the Mediterranean Sea can be observed very closely. (…) Within the EU, most member-states already have the necessary strategic means, to control the refugee routes across the sea – and to reduce the illegal immigration.“
Commenda went on to say that:
“from a military point of view, it is possible to stop almost all the refugee ships underway to Europe. As in all matters of security, as becomes clear from experience on the Balkan (a 96% reduction in the number of refugees) a few small holes are likely to stay open. But even now, the Mediterranean is constantly observed from the air: from flying radar stations, the ‘AWACS’, and aircraft that primarily serve to detect submarines, to drones and satellites used by news services.“
In short, the conclusion must be that the insane cruises in the worst kind of boats, that have for years caused thousands to end at the bottom of the sea, can be contained. Sending back the majority of the, mostly male economic migrants to protected zones on the North African coast is not a military, but a political problem.
Commenda explains that “the tried and tested idea of protected zones in safe regions is already being practiced in Syria.” It would allow a short-term containment of the refugee flood, while long-term answers are formulated for the countries of origin.
In short, Commenda says the exact same thing as retired major general and the co-author of the Australian asylum policy Jim Molan, who’s basically of the opinion that Europe is not even trying to control its borders.