NATO to Reinforce its Mediterranean Presence

NATO warships participating in Trident Juncture exercise, Oct. 29, 2015Nato will outline proposals next month for a new “southern strategy” in response to mounting instability across the Middle East and Russia’s growing military presence south of the Bosphorus….

The strategy will focus on a range of measures including increased surveillance and reconnaissance activities across the Mediterranean by Nato forces, deployments of Nato troops in advisory roles to crisis-hit countries across north Africa and the Middle East, and reinforced permanent Nato military deployments in the region, according to Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.

“We will discuss a southern strategy at our foreign ministerial which will take place on the 1 and 2 December,” said Mr Stoltenberg in Zaragoza, Spain, on Wednesday. “There we will have a report addressing and assessing the challenges we face to the South….”

The US Navy is already considering bolstering its naval presence in Europe in response to Russian activity. Admiral John Richardson, the new chief of naval operations, said this week that Washington was looking at sending more ships and submarines in order to deter Russian adventurism….

“Freedom of navigation [in the Mediterranean] is fundamentally important to Nato,” General Adrian Bradshaw, Nato’s deputy supreme allied commander said. “As we observe the deployment of more sophisticated [Russian] capabilities with considerable reach it becomes more and more important that we refresh our deterrence….”

Nato advisers are currently in Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia to bolster the alliance’s regional influence, the secretary-general said, and were ready to be sent to Libya as soon as a unity government was formed there.

Image: NATO warships participating in Trident Juncture exercise, Oct. 29, 2015 (photo: NATO)