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Friday, September 22, 2023

Šarec new defence minister, while the ministry will be headed by Damir Črnčec? This will be “pure fuck-up”!

By: Tomaž S. Medved

Late yesterday afternoon, the Defence Committee in the National Assembly, as expected, also confirmed the candidate for Minister of Defence, former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec. This is just a formality, as the coalition has a majority in the parent committees, and so far, it has practically never happened that any ministerial candidate is rejected. Moreover, Marjan Šarec knew in advance that he would become a minister, regardless of what would happen to his party.

Otherwise, the balance of power in favour of Šarec’s candidacy is eloquent enough: nine MPs supported him and five did not. This is obviously confirmed by Požareport’s writing that there was an agreement in the background between the new Prime Minister Robert Golob and Damir Črnčec, saying that Šarec, as the Minister of Defence, will be completely unproblematic. Which also means that the Levica will have to grit its teeth, as Šarec, in addition to advocating an audit of the purchase of boxer armour, also advocated that Slovenia continue to remain a member of NATO.

Does Šarec know what the concept of territorial defence is?

But just like when Šarec was Prime Minister, this time “Serpentinšek” took care of a kind of burlesque. Already in the presentation, Šarec announced that he would return to the concept of territorial defence (TO), although many are wondering if the future minister himself knows what this means. Namely, at the end of the 1960s, after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet troops, the SFRY introduced Territorial Defence in all republics, provinces, and municipalities into its Kardeljan concept of general people’s defence and social self-defence. These were light-armed military units that would react immediately in the event of an enemy invasion on its territory and stop enemy units, thus enabling the core of the regular army (i.e., the Yugoslav People’s Army) to make more effective defensive moves. Of course, even with the introduction of the TO, there were objections, saying that this would give each republic its own army, although the TO from each Yugoslav republic was formally subordinated first to the presidency of the SFRY or to the Belgrade Headquarters of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces of the SFRY. Of course, it is worth remembering that soon after the establishment of the SRS TO, members of the “healthy forces” accused the then Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Stane Kavčič, of purchasing American weapons for the TO.

What about the TO, which resisted the YPA in 1991? After the shameful tacit consent of the Presidency of the Republic of Slovenia, led by Milan Kučan, the new core of the Slovenian Armed Forces was created in secret with the formation of the National Defence Manoeuvring Structure or its subsequent incorporation into the structures of the (disarmed) TO, together with legislative changes at the end of September 1990, thus making the TO finally subordinate to the Slovenian authorities. As a result, in early October, members of the Yugoslav People’s Army occupied the TO headquarters building on Prežihova street in Ljubljana, but the TO command was already operating at another location at the time. Exercise Premik ’91 showed that the old concept of the TO had already been exceeded, members of the TO had actually been able to do much more, and in December 1990, as Prime Minister Lojze Peterle said at the time, “it smelled like the Slovenian army”.

Whether Šarec knows about these facts is, of course, unknown. However, it is clear that the defence documents, as the MPs pointed out, are already coordinated at the NATO level, while Šarec is probably dreaming of re-establishing partisans!?

“It is a fact, whether it says it or not!”

However, regarding the two battalion groups of the Slovenian Army, which is a request of NATO, Šarec said that they could not be assembled, as 135 announced Patria vehicles were not available, nor were they properly equipped. At the same time, he believes that the war in Ukraine has shown that different tactics and new aircraft technology are used. The current strategic documents also stipulate that when the system of collective defence falls, all means must be used to liberate the country, including guerrilla tactics. “It is a fact, whether it says it or not,” said Šarec. Our non-planar terrain configuration also speaks in favour of this. Šarec has no doubts about the concept of eight-wheelers. They are needed, but I would rather ask myself what these eight-wheelers should look like to serve the needs of the Slovenian Army (SAF) in our field, he said. At the same time, it is difficult to answer the questions about the relationship between armour, infantry, and modern means, as the SAF will also have to have a say in this regard. According to STA, he added that the concept of what our defence should be will have to be debated at a professional level.

In short, the future Minister of Defence has made sure that the new government does not run out of laughter – but the problem is that the situation in Europe is very serious due to the war in Ukraine and NATO needs reliable members right now. And this with ministers who are ready to work seriously, not “horsing about”, as the late France Bučar would say.

Otherwise, how NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg once reacted to Šarec’s rhetorical contributions can be seen here:

Regarding his experience with the NATO summit, Šarec himself admitted the following:

At the same time, of course, we only hope that NATO will not throw us out, which is what Miha Kordiš and his comrades from the Levica would otherwise like. However, for now, Šarec does not intend to satisfy him in this area. Šarec rejects Kordiš’s accusations that NATO is a group of commercial travellers, and believes that this is not the case, as evidenced by the fact that Finland and Sweden have applied for accession. This shows that the situation is evolving organically. Of course, NATO is not a flawless organisation, but as a collective security it is indispensable now and we cannot talk about leaving it, the former Prime Minister added.

With the purchase of weapons, we only have costs

Obviously, Šarec will try to satisfy the Levica at least when buying boxers, because according to Miha Kordiš, Slovenia does not need this weapon. The resolution on the general long-term programme for the development and equipping of the SAF until 2035 states that we will purchase equipment that is operational and tested in the field and without development costs. Of course, this is not the case with boxers, and I would base this on a review of the purchase, Šarec replied. He also announced the audit because he doubted the correctness of the purchase of boxers and membership in the OCCAR association years ago. Slovenia has not approached this order with its companies, and this is certainly a different situation, as it is more favourable for Slovenia to buy on a country-by-country basis than to participate in development associations, he estimates. Countries with their own armaments industry are cooperating with it on joint projects, such as OCCAR. We do not have a defence industry, so we only have a cost with the purchase of weapons and these funds are not returned to our economy, he pointed out. And rediscovered warm water.

In this debate, of course, the opposition MP Janez Žakelj (NSi) reacted that the cluster of the Slovenian defence industry also participates in the OCCAR contract. Šarec replied that boxers could be made in Slovenia under a license, as we had done in the Maribor Car Factory. Well, he forgot that there was also a Slovenian manufacturer for Patria armoured vehicles.

He hides the members of his team at MORS like a snake hides its legs

After the presentation, Šarec told STA that he has already selected a team for the ministry, but he does not want to talk about it until the government’s oath. His first steps after taking over the ministry will be an assessment of the situation and a review of documents marked internal and secret. This also includes a review of all contracts that have been signed. “I do not want to prejudge the future, but this step will have to be taken, this is also expected by the Slovenian public,” he said. However, Požareport has reported in recent days that future state secretaries Boštjan Poklukar (former Minister of the Interior) and Rudi Medved (former MP) are coming to Šarec’s cabinet, which means that the Ministry of Defence will be a stronghold of the LMŠ party, but the chief will be in truth Črnčec. In other words: Šarec will be just a puppet, while the affair “Lepa Nataša”, which is connected with Črnčec and Sova, will be nicely swept under the rug. And one more thing: the Ministry of Defence will be headed by a man who threw in the towel on the eve of the covid19 epidemic in January 2020.

So, we can agree with what someone wrote on twitter, saying that this is a “pure fuck-up” with Šarec at the Ministry of Defence…


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