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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/15/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Nation noted for neutrality engaging in military exercises for possible collapse of union

Switzerland is a nation long known for its neutrality and objectivity in world affairs. However - in spite of the nation not being a member of the euro zone, the military there has begun a series of exercises to deal with the possibility of instability and a possible influx of refugees from neighboring nations.

Switzerland is a nation with mandatory military service. Under Swiss law, all able-bodied men at age 19 have to undergo five months of training, followed by refresher courses of several weeks over the next decade.

Switzerland is a nation with mandatory military service. Under Swiss law, all able-bodied men at age 19 have to undergo five months of training, followed by refresher courses of several weeks over the next decade.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/15/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: switzerland, military exercises, instabilty, European Union


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - A military exercise entitled "Stabilo Due" last September was intended to respond to the current instability in Europe and to test the speed at which its army can be dispatched.

According to Swiss newspaper reports, the exercise centered around a risk map created in 2010, where army staff detailed the threat of internal unrest between warring factions as well as the possibility of refugees pouring over the borders from Greece, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal.

The Swiss defense ministry has told CNBC that it hasn't ruled out having to deploy troops in the coming years.

"It's not excluded that the consequences of the financial crisis in Switzerland can lead to protests and violence," one spokesperson said. "The army must be ready when the police in such cases requests for subsidiary help."

Two thousand troops were part of the drill exercise in eight different towns across Switzerland. Infantry soldiers were used as well as the Air Force and Special Forces personnel in an assignment that took years to organize.

Defense Minister Ueli Maurer warned of an escalation of violence in Europe. "I can't exclude that in the coming years we may need the army," he said.

Maurer says that some European countries, under pressure to save whatever funds they had didn't renew their armies as they could no longer afford the upkeep of modern systems.

The situation could worsen dramatically, Maurer warns, with countries that couldn't defend themselves facing the possibility of "blackmail." Maurer questions just how long the crisis could be calmed with money alone.

Swiss Army Chief André Blattmann is set to submit a proposal in December to utilize four battalions of military police. This will consist of 1,600 soldiers guarding strategic points in the country including the airport, industrial plants and the international organizations in Geneva.

Just last month, 70,000 people marched to the Greek Parliament in Athens and the protests ended with demonstrators clashing with police.

Plainclothes police and hundreds more undercover agents were mobilized to lock down Athens last week. Snipers, commando seals, frogmen and helicopters were also present as German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the country and thousands of protesters streamed into Syntagma square.

Switzerland is a nation with mandatory military service. Under Swiss law, all able-bodied men at age 19 have to undergo five months of training, followed by refresher courses of several weeks over the next decade.

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