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Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
--- Albert Einstein

One of the most crucial areas of potential cooperation between Greece and Israel is the totality of defense and security. Defense cooperation is hardly just juggling guns and other hardware. Defense cooperation means, most importantly, sharing thoughts, ideas, methods, and practices that benefit preparedness, enhance the understanding of the complexities of war, streamline thinking about defense spending (especially in an era of austerity,) and prepare one for the vagaries of “the fog of battle” that can easily scuttle the most meticulously constructed campaign plans.

Recent developments in Israel-Turkey relations have rekindled debate in Greece regarding the Greek posture vis-à-vis the Israeli-Turkish strategic relationship that now appears rapidly fraying at the edges but, also, weakening at its core.

The strong do what they have to do and the weak accept what they have to accept

It was announced that the Greek government has decided to abolish national military service for the Hellenic Navy and the Hellenic Air Force and man both with long-term “professional” volunteers. The Army, meantime, the last branch of the armed services to continue to engage conscripts, will have to create fighting troops out of raw recruits in nine short months -- this is now the length of the compulsory military service for the land forces in Greece down from 24 it once was.

In February 2009 we posed the question: “Does Greece have an internal security problem”? Then, our answer to the question was affirmative. In light of recent developments, we cannot but return to the same question, this time with the emphasis on the rapidly evolving urban guerrilla challenge to the Greek Government and valid expectations of “revolutionary” escalation, if the situation is allowed to develop according to familiar Greek political standards and long-established criteria of not acting in order to demonstrate tin-plated “democratic sensitivity”.

On October 22, the new leadership of the Citizen’s Protection ministry unceremoniously fired the chief of the Greek National Police over an incident in the anarchist-infested (or ‘bohemian’ according to some press) neighborhood of Exarchia in downtown Athens.

During the incident, police arrested several individuals belonging to one of Greece’s miniscule leftwing parties. Within the hour following the arrests, the Citizen’s Protection minister had personally intervened to order the release of all those in custody, had repeatedly apologized publicly for this “unacceptable” police behavior, and had, of course, demanded the resignation of the police chief, which he promptly received.

Intelligence organizations are complex, sophisticated entities with very specific operational, managerial, and administrative requirements. An intelligence organization has a deeply layered job description that involves a mind-boggling number of priorities. In Greece, this most critical business of national intelligence has been addressed for the most part in a bureaucratic, fragmented way heavily influenced by the surrounding environment of political instability and bitter partisan politics. Greece’s central intelligence bureau, now called the National Intelligence Service (NIS) has seen various incarnations depending on the political climate of any given period under study. Its predecessor, the Central Intelligence Service (CIS) was primarily deployed in domestic political infighting, suppressing communists and persons of “anti-national ideology,” an involvement that reached its crescendo during the military dictatorship of 1967-74.


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