The ele­phant in the Cham­ber

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A full, three-hour long de­bate in the House on Thurs­day about the Bud­get vote for the For­eign Min­istry did not tackle, ex­cept fleet­ingly, the ele­phant in the Cham­ber: Malta is the only EU coun­try not in the anti-Isis coali­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the US State Depart­ment, the par­tic­i­pants in the coali­tion are the fol­low­ing: Afghanistan, Al­ba­nia, the Arab League, Aus­tralia, Aus­tria, Bahrain, Bel­gium, Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina, Bul­garia, Canada, Croa­tia, Cyprus, Czech Repub­lic, Den­mark, Egypt, Es­to­nia, Fin­land, France, Ge­or­gia, Ger­many, Greece, Hun­gary, Ice­land, Iraq, Ire­land, Italy, Ja­pan, Jor­dan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Le­banon, Lithua­nia, Lux­em­bourg, Mace­do­nia, Malaysia, Moldova, Mon­tene­gro, Morocco, The Nether­lands, New Zealand, Nige­ria, Nor­way, Oman, Panama, Poland, Por­tu­gal, Qatar, Repub­lic of Korea, Ro­ma­nia, Saudi Ara­bia, Ser­bia, Sin­ga­pore, Slo­vakia, Slove­nia, So­ma­lia, Spain, Swe­den, Tai­wan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emi­rates, the United King­dom and the United States of Amer­ica.

All other 27 EU Mem­bers are there ex­cept Malta. The EU as an en­tity in it­self is also part.

This list was quoted in a US Con­gres­sional re­search pa­per in Au­gust 2016 –there seems to be no change since it was launched in 2014. (https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nat­sec/R441 35.pdf)

EU Mem­ber States Aus­tria, Fin­land, Ire­land and Swe­den are all con­sid­ered to be neu­tral states but they all form part of the coali­tion in their own right. Ev­ery State con­trib­utes dif­fer­ently, not all States con­trib­ute with mil­i­tary means. Many pro­vide fund­ing or hu­man­i­tar­ian re­sources.

So Malta, in a way the coun­try which is most at risk of Isis which is present in Libya, es­pe­cially around Sirte, is the only coun­try which does not think be­ing in the anti-Isis coali­tion is im­por­tant for its se­cu­rity.

The anti-Isis coali­tion is not a club. It is deadly se­ri­ous. By be­ing out of it, Malta is de­prived of the ex­change of in­for­ma­tion shared among the mem­bers. As stated, not all mem­bers con­trib­ute with mil­i­tary means.

At a time when Malta is so in­volved with Fron­tex and res­cue mis­sions it sim­ply makes no sense to do this at con­sid­er­able risk and then not take sen­si­ble pre­cau­tions con­sid­er­ing the real risk that Isis will try and in­fil­trate the asy­lum seek­ers and gain en­trance to Europe.

Malta has thus be­come the chink in the wall, the loop­hole in the coali­tion’s wall and it is pre­dictable that Isis will try and take ad­van­tage of this.

The par­lia­men­tary de­bate also skimmed over the is­sue of Malta’s prob­lem­atic re­la­tions with Libya, at a time when two con­tend­ing gov­ern­ments were vy­ing for con­trol over the coun­try. Again, this high­lights the im­por­tance for Malta to seek se­cu­rity, a bet­ter se­cu­rity than it has now, a se­cu­rity that can be ob­tained through mem­ber­ship of the coali­tion.

One also ex­pects from the Al­ter­na­tive Gov­ern­ment a clear com­mit­ment to join the coali­tion when it makes it to gov­ern­ment.

All the boast­ing we heard on Thurs­day about how Malta’s for­eign pol­icy is praised by one and all does not hide the glar­ing weak­ness of Malta’s se­cu­rity.

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