Lithuania needs its own antiterrorist strategy

Following tragic terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13 the Lithuanian prime minister summoned Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis and State Security Department Darius Jauniškis for an urgent meeting on security. According to Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, it focused on ways to contribute to international efforts against terrorism as well as measures to ensure domestic security, DELFI informed. The question arises about the country readiness to cope with similar situation.

It’s generally known that National Security Strategy of the Republic of Lithuania is noting the international terrorism as one of the factors forming Lithuania‘s security policy agenda. Yet, it is believed that this threat to Lithuania is more hypothetical. Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs states on its website that “the current internal environment and historical experience do not create conditions for terrorist groups to be formed.” In light of recent events I would say it is a very controversial statement. Even more – dangerous delusion.

Though Lithuania is actively participating in the international counter-terrorism frameworks, this work hasn’t made our country’s security stronger. After tragic terrorist attacks in Paris Lithuanians feel fear and are not sure about the government’s ability to defend them at home.

It seems as if our authorities more often rely on outside help instead of taking independent steps to ensure domestic security. It is high time to develop our own antiterrorist strategy.

Head of the State Security Department of Lithuania Darius Jauniškis.
Head of the State Security Department of Lithuania Darius Jauniškis.

Understandably, our government faces a very difficult choice: to continue strengthening our armed forces, engage more and more foreign troops to counter [non-existent – OR] threat from the East or switch to another activity – to enhance efforts against terrorism. At least for two years Baltic States have feared an enemy with trained troops, fighters and tanks, but last terrorist attacks show another even more real threat – terrorism.

According to Lithuania’s National Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, Lithuania at the moment would be ready to accept 6,000-8,000 NATO troops without any major logistical issues. If even not to take into account the fact that according to Article 137 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuaniathere may not be any weapons of mass destruction and foreign military bases on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, I would like to see common sense has prevailed. In other words we have made every effort to repel a hypothetical military attack but have done nothing to counter tangible terrorism. Thus, Lithuanian authorities act illogically, not properly prioritizing its activities.

Adomas Abromaitis, a Lithuanian expatriat living in thr United Kingdom.

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