Current Foreign Deployments of the Czech Army

Current Foreign Deployments of the Czech Army
Author: Major Jan Šulc, Provincial Reconstruction Team Logar|Caption: Patrol in Afghanistan
28 / 05 / 2018, 11:45

After the first ANO government was voted down by the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament on 16th january 2018, the ANO leader and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is trying to form another coalition government, seeking partnership with the ČSSD (socialists), and tolerance by the KSČM (communists), as the Parliamentary mathematics do not offer enough votes for the new coalition. ANO will have to adress one of the voiced conditions for tolerance from the communists who do not want the new government to increase the Czech presence in foreign missions, and require the U.N. Security Council authorization for any mission the Czech Army would be involved with.

It is an issue which concerns the Czech alliance commitments and can influence, should the communist requirements be adressed with respect, the position of the Czech Republic among it’s NATO allies. Given the U.N. Security Council’s responsivness is subject to global political stances of major powers who do not always share the same perception of critical situations; which in fact means only missions Russia and China agree with would be supported by the Czech Armed Forces. The situation is delicate concerning both the foreign and home politics, for the influence of the Communist Party in such matters comes three decades after the Velvet Revolution, and also after the communists scored their worst post-1989 election result (7.8 percent).

The Czechoslovak Army took part in the 1991 Gulf War (both the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations) and it participated in a great number of different missions from 1993, after the split of Czechoslovakia, U.N.-led or under the NATO Partnership for Peace Programme, and sice 1999 as member of the NATO. The Czech Army served within IFOR, SFOR, and EUFOR Althea in Bosnia, in Kosovo with KFOR, and in Afghanistan (NATO-led ISAF operation, renamed Resolute Support Mission in 2015), Albania, Pakistan, with the Coalition forces in Iraq, etc. A group of Czech signal troops officers contributed to NATO Active Fence operation in Turkey in 2014 and 2015 (to face tensions created by the Syrian civil war), the Czech Air Force served in the Baltics and Iceland, providing Air Policing operations with the JAS-39 Gripen fighters.

The Communist Party does not want to allow for any increase of the Czech military participation to foreign missions. What are the current foreign deployments of the Czech Army, where do the Czech soldiers serve? Are the current missions authorized by the U.N. Security Council?

  • 230 soldiers are deployed within the NATO Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan. The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 2189 in support of this mission in December 2014. Three Czech units contribute to this mission. They are the ACR Task Force RSM - Kabul, deployed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul; ACR Guard Company RSM - Bagram, serving in the Afghan Province of Parwan, at the Bagram Air Field; and the Unit of the ACR Military Police, serving to protect and defend facilities and personnel of the Czech Embassy to Afghanistan in Kabul.
  • 44 Czech soldies serve in Mali, either with the EU Military Training Mission (EUTM Mali) or with the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSMA). The Czech soldiers are deployed to protect the EUTM Headquarters in Bamako, and they contribute to the training of Malian soldiers in cooperation with other nations participating in the mission, and three Czech military officers fulfill staff duties in the MINSUMA’s HQ. Both Mali missions are authorized by the United Nations Security Council.
  • 42 soldiers of the Czech Army are deployed in Iraq within the Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), with the Air Advisory Team, the 1st CBRN (Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense) Training Team, and with the 2nd Military Police Training Team. Inherent Resolve is the military intervention against the Islamic State. There are 74 members of the global coalition, including the U.N., yet the Operation Inherent Resolve lacks the international law subjectivity, and the presence of foreign troops is based on bilateral agreements with the Iraqi government.
  • 18 Czech soldiers are present in the Sinai based on a request by Egypt and international organisations within the MFO (Multinational Force & Observers) to supervise the 1979 Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel. The Czech Task Force is equiped with a CASA C-295M transport aircraft with the task to do observation flights over Egyptian-Israeli border with multinational military observers aboard to monitor situation, and fulfill transport tasks of personnel and material in favour of the MFO. The U.N. was unable to provide the force due to a veto by USSR in 1981, the MFO peacekeeping is organized outside the framework of the U.N.
  • 10 Czech soldiers currently serve within the KFOR as the 14th ACR KFOR Task Force at the KFOR HQ in Pristina, Kosovo. KFOR is a NATO-led international peacekeeping force which was responsible for establishing a secure environment in Kosovo active since 1999. The mission is based on the U.N. Security Council resolution no. 1244. There are also 2 military observers in Kosovo (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo – UNMIK).
  • 3 soldiers serve with the EU Operation Atalanta (NAVFOR) in Somalia; 4 soldiers take part at the EU military oparation on the Mediterranean Sea (EU Navfor Med); 2 are present in Bosnia and Herzegovina to oversee the military implementation of the Dayton Agreement with the Althea EU force; 3 men serve witht he U.N. peacekeeping mission on the Golan Heights (UNDOF); 2 military observers are in the Democratic Republic Congo with the MONUC U.N. peacekeeping mission; 3 military observers serve in the Central Africak Republic within the MINUSCA U.N. peacekeeping mission.

Generally any increase of the Czech participation in the above mentioned missions, especially those in Afghanistan and Iraq, might meet the Communist Party’s opposition. And the following foreign deployment may easilly become one of the neuralgic points of the potential communist support to the new ANO-ČSSD governement:

250 soldiers are assigned to serve in Lithuania within the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) operation, 40 are assigned to serve in Latvia. The mission is an implementation of the 2016 Warsaw Summit decisions to establish NATO’s forward presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and it is the NATO’s response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine. There are four multinational battalion-size battlegroups. In Lithuania the battlegroup is led by Germany, in Latvia the core of the battlegroup is provided by Canada. In July 2017 the communist deputies voted against this deployment (together with eight deputies from ANO and ČSSD).

Currently ANO awaits the result of the ČSSD internal referendum which will answer the crucial question whether the socialists are willing to enter a governement with ANO based on tolerance by the Communist Party. The referendum ends on 14th June.

Further reading:

History of Czech Military Participation in Operations Abroad (1990 - 2017)

Current Deployments

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