FM4: Schubert on ISIS Kidnappings, Pollak on EU Armed Forces

International Relations professors Samuel R. Schubert and Johannes Pollak were interviewed by Austrian national radio FM4 in its March 10th "Reality Check". Dr. Schubert commented on ISIS in Libya. Dr. Pollak was asked to present his take on possible EU armed forces.

Covering the recent ISIS kidnappings of 9 foreign workers (including one Austrian) in Libya, Dr. Schubert emphasized that the IS in Libya, together with other local Islamist groups, recently sabotaged around a dozen oil fields in Libya, rendering them inoperable. Their aim was to damage, not to conquer, guards were killed, local workers left free, but foreigners kidnapped.

Targeting the government's revenue and further destabilizing the already split country seems the primary goal of the oil field attacks. Dr. Schubert estimates that there is a probability that the hostages will be traded for ransom. Particularly cruel and public beheadings in Libya in the past diminish hopes, however. "In Iraq and Syria everything has to follow an Islamic procedure within the IS to determine what happens", Schubert said, whereas "ISIS in Libya is relatively new" and hence even more unpredictable.

For sure, with ISIS entering the field, Libyian struggles are not regional anymore: "There was a time when you could say that was a domestic, civil war question. It has moved beyond that."

Prof. Pollak discussed president of the EU Commission Jean Claude Juncker's call for an European Army. European states have been struggling for decades for an integrated, European defense structure without achieving much. In the eyes of Dr. Pollak, "The defense arm of the European Union is and will be NATO."

Despite Europeans favoring an EU integrated defense structure in polls, EU integration in general is momentarily unpopular. Pushing an EU Army agenda now surprises Dr. Pollak. It seems like "a desperate attempt to show a united front against Russia."

It is true that the UK and France have a tradition in close military collaboration, but particularly Britain has made it clear that it doesn't want to extend it to the whole European Union. In addition to political obstacles, diversity in terms of army structures and military hardware makes the creation of an EU Army extremely difficult.

Listen to the whole interviews here.