Search

 

Cablegate: Iceland Presents Its Vision for Nato Air Policing

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0298/01 2891646
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 161646Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3466
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE 0060
RHMFISS/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000298

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/NB, EUR/RPM
OSD-P FOR DAVID CATE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2017
TAGS: MOPS NATO PREL MARR PGOV IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND PRESENTS ITS VISION FOR NATO AIR POLICING

Refs: A) NATO Document -- SG(2007)0516
B) Reykjavik 233
C) Reykjavik 247

Classified By: Amb. Carol van Voorst for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: In advance of the November Force Generation
Conference, the Icelandic Defense Department briefed resident NATO
ambassadors October 12 on Iceland's air policing wishlist: quarterly
Allied deployments featuring planes on the ground at Keflavik for up
to three weeks at a time. As incentives, Iceland would offer
participants low-level flying opportunities and will cover major
costs. Iceland hopes for generous commitments covering 2008-2010 at
the conference. While the proposal shows the GOI has high ambitions
for allied support, the very fact that the MFA hosted a broad
consultation on the topic represents a welcome change in thinking at
the ministry. End Summary.

2. (NC) MFA Defense Department Director Thorir Ibsen -- who took
over from his longtime predecessor Amb. Jon Egill Egilsson in early
September -- invited resident NATO ambassadors on October 12 to a
presentation on Iceland's concept of air policing (AP) operations.
The presentation was based on the NATO Military Committee- and North
Atlantic Council-approved paper on peacetime air defense for Iceland,
which passed silence in the NAC on July 26. That agreement envisions
quarterly interceptor deployments to Iceland. Ibsen said that Iceland
intends to formally invite NATO allies to provide AP services at the
Global Force Generation Conference scheduled to commence on November
8. He also indicated that Iceland will seek to secure commitments
from participating countries for an initial deployment in March/April
2008 and subsequent deployments through 2010.

3. (NC) Ibsen stated that Iceland would provide extensive ground
support services including hangar and maintenance space, messing and
berthing facilities, and expects the deployed aircraft to maintain a
robust schedule of training and exercise play. He pointed out that
Iceland offers opportunities for low altitude flying overland year
round except for May-September. (Note: We do not yet know
definitively if the Icelanders will provide fuel, as they did for the
Northern Viking exercise in 2007.)

4. (NC) Iceland's ideal AP scenario:
--participating NATO countries commit to participating in a three
year rotational schedule (2008-2010);
--aircraft deployed on a quarterly basis, with the first quarterly
deployment during the March / April 2008 timeframe;
--deployments in country for up to three weeks;
--a force composition of at least 4 fighters.

In give-and-take with the ambassadors, Ibsen displayed a healthy
pragmatism about these goals. The GOI is aware that NATO allies'
budgets and training schedules are probably already fixed for FY 2008
and in some instances FY 2009. He stressed that Iceland is willing
to accept variations such as deployments shorter than three weeks or
less than every quarter; more than one country at a time providing
aircraft during the same deployment; and other possibilities. He
admitted that it will be difficult to fill all four quarters in the
first year but intends to use a high return on investment (i.e., lots
of training opportunities and firm support from host nation) as a
selling point.

5. (C) On the connection between quarterly deployments and annual
military exercises, Ibsen said that Iceland hoped for an annual
Northern Viking defense exercise in addition to the four annual AP
deployments. However, while this would be the ideal scenario for
Iceland, the GOI would accept what NATO allies were willing to offer.
Pressed on specific commitments, Ibsen noted that Turkey has ruled
out participation entirely, while the Danes and Norwegians have
expressed mild interest. The GOI intends to approach the German
government in bilateral discussions later this month.

6. (C) Comment: The GOI's wishlist is ambitious, but two positive
changes in its thinking are apparent. First, the MFA acknowledged
that it is asking for considerable contributions from allies whose
available assets and manpower are already under pressure. Ibsen was
careful to note that variations would be acceptable and that Iceland
would work to ease the burden on contributing Allies. Second, the
fact that the MFA hosted a consultative meeting with all NATO
embassies in advance of making any formal proposal represents a sea
change in the GOI's approach to these issues. Previous GOI
initiatives at NATO uniformly came as a surprise to Allied
ambassadors here; this new approach recognizes the need for better
spadework in Reykjavik and in capitals. Both changes in tone and
approach are welcome. Coming in addition to the GOI's announcement of
Iceland's first-ever defense budget earlier this month, these
indicate a new maturity in Icelandic thinking about its
responsibilities for defense and its place in the Alliance.


VAN VOORST

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results
Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

WHO: Vaccination No Guarantee Of Virus Eradication

In the final World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 press conference of the year, on Monday, senior officials warned that the virus is 'not necessarily the big one', and that there is a real chance of another, more serious pandemic spreading ... More>>

Covid: Two Billion COVID Vaccine Doses Secured, WHO Says End Of Pandemic Is In Sight

The end of the pandemic is in sight but we must not let our guard down, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as he welcomed the news that the global vaccine partnership COVAX has lined up almost two billion doses of existing ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>


UN Rights Office: Iran Execution Of Child Offender Breaks International Law

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial. In a statement released on Thursday, ... More>>

UN News: Fighting Displaces Over 500,000 In Northern Mozambique, Reports UN Refuge Agency

Attacks by armed groups in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa provinces have displaced more than 530,000 people, many of whom have been forced to move multiple times, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday. According to ... More>>