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Cablegate: Peacekeeping Remains Sensitive Issue In..

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001695

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR S/P, IO/UNP, EUR/RPM, PM/ISO, EUR/UBI
JCS FOR J-5
OSD FOR ISA-NATO


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO MARR NL MPOS NATO EUN
SUBJECT: PEACEKEEPING REMAINS SENSITIVE ISSUE IN...

1113
2000-06-07

00THEHAGUE1695

Embassy The Hague

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001695
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/P, IO/UNP, EUR/RPM, PM/ISO, EUR/UBI
JCS FOR J-5

OSD FOR ISA-NATO

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL KPKO MARR NL MPOS NATO EUN

SUBJECT: PEACEKEEPING REMAINS SENSITIVE ISSUE IN THE
NETHERLANDS

REFS: A) THE HAGUE 588 B) THE HAGUE 980

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION

1. SUMMARY: SINCE THE FALL OF THE SREBRENICA ENCLAVE IN
1995, DUTCH POLITICIANS HAVE REPEATEDLY BEEN REVIEWING THEIR PEACEKEEPING DECISIONMAKING PROCESS TO ENSURE THAT DUTCH TROOPS WILL NEVER AGAIN BE PLACED IN SUCH AN IMPOSSIBLE POSITION. GIVEN THEIR CONTINUING BELIEF IN THE GOAL OF PROMOTING PEACE AND THE RULE OF LAW, MOST DUTCH GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL LEADERS REMAIN, IN PRINCIPLE, PREPARED TO PARTICIPATE IN FUTURE PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS. BUT THEY ARE NOW ALSO INCLINED TO APPLY MUCH STRICTER CRITERIA. AS A
RESULT, DUTCH PKO PARTICIPATION SHOULD NO LONGER BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED BY THE US, NATO, UN OR EU. END SUMMARY.

2. DUTCH POLITICIANS SAY THEY LOST THEIR INNOCENCE IN
SREBRENICA. IN THE EARLY 1990S, THE DO-GOOD DUTCH CHERISHED THE ILLUSION THAT THEY COULD BRING PEACE AND STABILITY THROUGH PEACEKEEPING. THE TRAGEDY OF SREBRENICA RUDELY OPENED THEIR EYES. ALTHOUGH NUMEROUS SEASONED MFA, MOD AND MILITARY LEADERS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THOSE POORLY ARMED DUTCH SOLDIERS COULD DO LITTLE TO STOP THE GENOCIDE BY THE SERBS
OF THOUSANDS OF MUSLIMS, MOST PARLIAMENTARIANS AND CITIZENS HAVE NEVER STOPPED WONDERING HOW THIS COULD HAVE EVER HAPPENED.

3. SREBRENICA STILL PRESENTS THE DUTCH BODY POLITIC WITH A DILEMMA: MOST DUTCH REMAIN CONVINCED OF THE NEED TO PROMOTE THE INTERNATIONAL RULE OF LAW, IF NECESSARY THROUGH MILITARY OPERATIONS. BUT NO ONE WANTS TO BE EXPOSED TO SUCH RISKS AGAIN. WHILE CONCEDING THAT PEACEKEEPING WILL NEVER BE FREE
OF RISKS, DUTCH POLICY MAKERS SINCE 1995 HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DEFINE ON WHAT TERMS THEY MIGHT AGAIN PARTICIPATE. RESPONDING TO PARLIAMENTARY AND PRIME MINISTERIAL ANGST, THE FOREIGN MINISTRY IN 1995 INITIALLY PRESENTED GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE PARTICIPATION IN PEACEKEEPING. THEY INCLUDED THE DESIRE FOR A CLEAR MANDATE FROM THE UN OR ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION, NO DUAL-KEY COMMAND AND CONTROL, VIABLE POLITICAL AND MILITARY GOALS, AND A MULTINATIONAL FRAMEWORK. THE LATTER EVOLVED INTO THE CURRENT-DAY DE FACTO REQUIREMENT OF INVOLVING A MAJOR ALLY SUCH AS THE U.S. OR THE UK.

4. IN THE PAST TWO YEARS, DUTCH POLITICS HAS BECOME OBSESSED WITH REVIEWING AND ANALYZING PAST OPERATIONS.
THE SREBRENICA TRAGEDY WAS, AND STILL IS, THE SUBJECT OF
VARIOUS INVESTIGATIONS. THE PARLIAMENT SET UP A SPECIAL
COMMISSSION TO INVESTIGATE HOW THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT CAME TO DECIDE TO PARTICIPATE IN INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS, THE SO-CALLED BAKKER COMMISSION. THE FOCUS IS, AGAIN, PRIMARILY ON SREBRENICA, BUT PARTICIPATION IN OPERATION ALLIED FORCE AND UN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS IN CYPRUS, ANGOLA AND CAMBODIA IS ALSO UNDER REVIEW. A MAJOR PURPOSE OF THIS EXERCISE IS TO LEARN FROM PAST EXPERIENCE SO THAT TROOPS ARE NOT AGAIN DISPATCHED ON IMPOSSIBLE MISSIONS.

5. THE PARLIAMENT ALSO ASKED THE GOVERNMENT TO EVALUATE THE KOSOVO CRISIS FROM THE DUTCH PERSPECTIVE. THIS WAS ANOTHER LESSONS-LEARNED EXERCISE, WHICH ALSO BROUGHT TO THE FORE SIMMERING DISCONTENT ON PERCEIVED EXCLUSION FROM DELIBERATIONS AMONG THE LARGER NATIONS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE
SIZEABLE MILITARY CONTRIBUTIONS THAT THE DUTCH BELIEVE THEY MAKE (REFTELS).

6. THE ABSENCE OF A UNSC MANDATE FOR OPERATION ALLIED FORCE TRIGGERED A DEBATE ON CONDITIONS THAT PERMIT HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION IN THE EVENT OF GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. FOREIGN MINISTER VAN AARTSEN HAS ORGANIZED TWO SEMINARS ABOUT THIS IN THE PAST YEAR. THESE SEMINARS PRODUCED A LIST OF CONSIDERATIONS THAT SHOULD PRECEDE A MILITARY INTERVENTION. THESE INCLUDED A CLEAR URGENCY TO ACT WITH THE GOAL OF STOPPING GRAVE AND LARGE SCALE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. THE ACTION SHOULD ALSO STAND A REASONABLE CHANCE OF SUCCESS AT ACCEPTABLE COSTS.

7. ALL OF THESE EFFORTS REFLECT A FRANTIC SEARCH FOR
OBJECTIVE CRITERIA FOR PARTICIPATION IN PEACEKEEPING
MISSIONS. BUT THEY ALSO GIVE EVIDENCE OF CONSIDERABLE
UNDERLYING EMOTIONAL RESERVATIONS. RISK AVOIDANCE SEEMS TO BE THE WATCHWORD IN TODAY'S THE HAGUE. IT IS NO COICIDENCE THE DUTCH ARE DISTANCING THEMSELVES FROM ON-THE-GROUND COMMITMENTS IN PLACES LIKE KOSOVO, CYPRUS OR WESTERN SAHARA. STILL, IT WOULD BE INCORRECT TO COUNT THE DUTCH OUT ENTIRELY
IN FUTURE PKO'S, ALTHOUGH THEY WILL SEEK DIFFERENT TERMS. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WILL HEAR THE DUTCH DEMAND SOUND ARGUMENTS, REQUIRE CONSIDERABLE DOMESTIC CONSULTATION
PERIODS, AND LIKELY SEEK GUARANTEES ABOUT CONSULTATION AND DECISIONMAKING BEFORE COMMITTING TO NATO, UN OR EU DEPLOYMENTS IN THE FUTURE.

FENDRICK

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